HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A burn ban has been issued for unincorporated areas of Harris County.
Monday's rain was not enough to help the drought conditions in our area, as a burn ban has been issued due to an increased threat of wildfires across unincorporated parts of Harris County.
There are now 171 counties with burn bans in effect, including Galveston, Waller, Fort Bend, Brazoria and Liberty counties.
"Unprecedented temperatures and a lack of rain has elevated KBDI levels for this time of the year," said Fire Marshal Laurie L. Christensen. "Although we have seen some rain, it's not enough to lower the drought index levels across the county. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security with rain in parts of Harris County - the vegetation fuels are high due to drought conditions in not only open areas but, residential properties and roadways adjacent to grass and brush."
While the ban does not impact the sale of fireworks for the Fourth of July, the fire marshal's office encourages residents to attend professional fireworks displays. People who choose to use consumer fireworks are asked to read the cautionary labels, have a water source nearby, and soak the used fireworks before disposing of them.
Violating the ban is a Class "C" misdemeanor, that is punishable for up to a $500 fine.
The following are some key points provided by the fire marshal's office:
- There is a burn ban in effect for all areas of unincorporated Harris County.
- No outdoor burning is allowed except in an enclosure that contains all flames and/or sparks, outdoor burning activities authorized by TCEQ, approved ceremonial fires, and non-commercial cooking, such as backyard cook-outs and barbeques are also allowed in approved containers, as is welding and other "hot work" performed in accordance with county fire code requirements.
- Burning in violation of the court order is a Class "C" misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $500 fine. Any peace officer can issue a citation for violating Section 352.081 of the Local Government Code. You are responsible for any damage caused by a fire you start.
- Use extreme caution when cooking outdoors. A small spark or burning ember can ignite dry vegetation. Winds will fan the flames and spread the fire rapidly.
- Remove combustibles within 30 feet of any controlled fire or hot work. A small, controlled fire can easily spread quickly and become an out-of-control, dangerous fire.
- If you see an unattended fire, call 9-1-1 and notify your local fire department immediately. Even a small fire can spread quickly and threaten people and property.