TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) - The Travis County Commissioners Court voted unanimously to extend the ban on outdoor burning in the unincorporated areas of Travis County.
The new burn ban expires Oct. 3 unless further action is taken by the Court or County Fire Marshal prior to that date. Travis County Emergency Services also urges the public to prepare for wildfire by taking protective measures which are outlined on the website www.FireAdapted.org .
Fire Marshal Hershel Lee emphasized the increased fire danger caused by dry, hot and afternoon low-humidity conditions in the county.
"We have a large amount of dry vegetation, which can act as fuel for fires, combined with decreasing moisture and an elevated risk of fire," said Lee.
According to Lee, the county's average Keetch-Bryam Drought Index , used to determine available moisture in the top 8 inches of soil, was 456 last month and rose to 581 this month. Conditions are worse in the western third of the county, where the index has increased to 708 in some areas. The index ranges from 0, indicating the wettest conditions, to 800, for the driest conditions.
Prescribed burns, outdoor hot work
This ban on outdoor burning does not affect a prescribed burn under the supervision of a prescription burn manager. It also does not affect outdoor hot work when done under the guidelines established by Travis County Fire Marshal's Office. Prescription burn managers and those in need of outdoor hot-work permits must contact the Travis County Fire Marshal's Office or the fire department in whose jurisdiction the work will be done.
Lee reminds the public that any spark can start a fire, and a fire ember can travel more than a mile. The public can learn how to prepare for wildfires at www.FireAdapted.org . This website is a one-stop shop for the latest developments in wildfire safety, best practices, toolkits and programs of the nation's leading wildfire organizations.
For answers to questions about how to protect homes from fires, call the Fire Marshal's Office at 512-854-4621, or contact the nearest fire department.
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