TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Travis County Fire Marshal Tony Callaway was before commissioners Tuesday asking for yet another extension of the county’s burn ban. His request comes as record-setting heat and low humidity have “only worsened” fire conditions.

“With the rate that we’re going right now, we’re now getting into a situation where our heavier fuels are losing their moisture at a rapid rate as well,” Callaway said, “which is going to create larger fires.”

The Austin Fire Department said it worked nearly 140 fires between noon of the Fourth of July and noon the day following. Callaway said some of those calls were duplicates, but they have seen an increase in the number of fire calls they’re responding to, and they “only expect that number to increase as conditions continue.”

“We’re in dire need of some rain,” Callaway said, “which it does not look like we’re going to get anytime soon.”

Commissioners unanimously passed the new burn ban, which will be active from Tuesday until Aug. 10, unless conditions improve between now and then. The previous burn ban was set to expire Wednesday.

Under the ban in unincorporated parts of the county you cannot:

  • Burn any combustible material outside of an enclosure which contains all flames and/or sparks
  • Engage in any activity outdoors that could allow flames or sparks that could result in a fire unless done in an enclosure designed to protect the spread of fire

Not adhering to a burn ban could result in a misdemeanor charge and a fine of up to $500.