Burn ban set for Cherokee County

by By Josie Fox herald@mediactr.com

During an emergency Cherokee County Commissioner’s Court meeting held on Tuesday, Aug. 7 a burn ban was set for Cherokee County by unanimous decision.

In light of the recent fire off Hwy 69 in Alto, the commissioners met to review the Keetch Byram Drought Index (KBDI) for the county.

As stated in the State of Texas Drought Preparedness Plan, the Keetch-Byram Drought Index is “a drought index specifically used for fire potential assessment.

The numeric value of the index, ranging from 0 to 800, is an estimate of the amount of precipitation (in 100ths of an inch) needed to bring the soil back to saturation. The KBDI is directly correlated to fire danger; as the index increases, the vegetation is subjected to increased moisture stress.

As of Tuesday, Aug. 7, Cherokee County is sitting in the 600-700 range, with several areas registering in the 700-800 range on the KBDI index.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of July 31, the county is registering in the D1-D4 or moderate range.

“Even with the rain that we have predicted through the week and weekend, it will not be enough. We need to issue the burn ban,” said Sidney Riley, Cherokee County Emergency Management Coordinator.

Until KBDI and drought conditions improve the burn ban will be in place for Cherokee County.

Here are some guidelines and safety tips to follow when under a burn ban according to Texas A&M Forest Service website:

- Do not throw lit cigarettes out of moving vehicles or onto the ground.

- Keep mufflers and spark arresters on agricultural equipment in proper working order.

-Watch for rocks and metal when bush hogging or mowing.

-Monitor hay baling operations closely, dry hay can ignite within the baler.

-When welding, remove vegetation from the work area.

-Use a sprayer to wed down the work area prior to starting welding operations.

-Keep water handy.

-Have someone with you to spot any fires that sparks ignite.

-Avoid parking vehicles in dry grass tall enough to touch the catalytic converter on the underside of your vehicle.

-Grilling or outdoor cooking should be done in a contained space, such as a barbecue pit.

-Burn household trash only in a burn barrel or other trash container equipped with a screen or metal grid to keep burning material contained.

-Never attempt to burn aerosol cans; heated cans will explode. Flying material may cause injuries and the explosion may scatter burning material into nearby vegetation and cause a wildfire.

-Stay with outdoor fires until they are completely out.

The Cherokeean will provide any updates to the burn ban as they are received.

The Cherokee County Commissioner’s Court will meet in regular session on Monday, Aug. 13 at 10 a.m. in the Commissioner’s Court room on the first floor of the Cherokee County Courthouse.