TYLER — There are some adjustments to a Smith County burn ban extension announced earlier this week. Those include clarification of the start date, an extra warning for offenders, and a heightened drought index. The Commissioners Court has issued an order to extend the existing burn ban for 90 days, starting Thursday, August 29. The court will have an option to repeal the order prior to the 90th day, if conditions allow.
“We have been monitoring the situation closely and have determined that a burn ban is necessary. Many factors are considered prior to the issuance of a burn ban and I always consult with the County Fire Marshal in evaluating the issuance of such an order,” County Judge Joel Baker said. “We also consider the type and volume of calls for emergency service concerning fires.” The Fire Marshal’s Office is actively ticketing burn ban violators as conditions continue to become drier and more dangerous, according to officials.
Under the current burn ban the following activities are prohibited:
• Outdoor burning
• Burning in barrels
• Disposal of lit tobacco products
• Use of fireworks
• Any other activity that could result in an outdoor fire
Smith County Fire Marshal Jim Seaton says that grilling is permitted under the current burn ban with extreme caution and only within a grill that can be closed to contain all open flames and flammable materials.
The current drought index in Smith County is 687, and the county historically issues burn bans when it is at or near 700. Unusually high temperatures, lack of rainfall and low moisture levels have contributed to need for a ban to be issued.
Other factors in determining the need for a burn ban include:
· The Keetch-Byram Drought Index
· The current temperature, humidity, and wind speed
· The weather forecast