If you have boxes and debris you need to burn, you’ll have to wait. Liberty County on Thursday, June 16, enacted a burn that will be in effect until drought conditions improve.
Currently, Liberty County’s drought conditions range from 600 to 700 on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, a Texas A&M Forest Service reference scale that is used to measure the dryness of soil with the highest numbers on the scale topping out at 800.
According to Liberty County Fire Marshal Bill Hergemueller, much of Southeast Texas is suffering from a lack of rain, and drought conditions are expected to continue for at least a few more days.
“We don’t see any relief for at least 10 days, so we have no choice but to put on a burn ban,” Hergemueller said.
Drought conditions create an elevated fire risk, which is why Liberty County Commissioners Court on Tuesday decided to prohibit fireworks sales for the Fourth of July holiday in the unincorporated parts of the county. Commissioners will review the situation at their next meeting on June 28. If drought conditions persist, the ban on fireworks sales will continue.
The county’s burn ban and forbidding of fireworks sales will not prevent municipalities from moving forward with fireworks shows as they are governed by city ordinances.
The burn ban applies to all unincorporated areas of Liberty County. Any person who commits an offense if they engage in burning any combustible material outside of an enclosure that serves to contain all flames and/or sparks, or orders others to burn items.
Violating the burn ban is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500.
The order does not apply to outdoor burning activities related to public health and safety that are authorized and permitted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for firefighter training; public utility, natural gas pipeline or mining operations; or planting and harvesting of agriculture crops.