County declares state of emergency
By LPR Staff
County Judge H.T. Wright declared a “State of Emergency” in Caldwell County on Wednesday afternoon, as volunteer firefighters from across the county struggled to contain a rash of grass fires.
Warmer temperatures and high winds contributed to what was already a dangerous situation in rural areas of the county, as high gr
asses and higher winds provided ample fuel to turn the county into a tinderbox. Although the County Commissioners had decided on Monday not to reinstate an outdoor burning ban, conditions made the move necessary.
“Jimmy Parker called in and told me that they had some fires yesterday, including a big one out at Lytton Springs,” Wright said on Thursday morning. “After that, Neto [Madrigal, Precint 3 Commissioner] called and suggested we put it back on.”
Wright said that although it is within his legal authority to issue the order and ratify it at the next Commissioners’ Court meeting, he discussed the ban with the Commissioners prior to making his final decision.
“This is a dangerous time of year,” he said. “And this county would probably be burned to the ground if it weren’t for our volunteer firefighters. They do a great job.”
Under the emergency order, it is a Class C misdemeanor to burn “any combustible materials outside of an enclosure, which serves to contain all flame and/or sparks, or orders such burning by others,” or engage in “any activity outdoors which could allow flames or sparks that could result in a fire.”
In related news, Governor Rick Perry issued a State of Disaster Declaration for 152 counties in Texas. Although Caldwell County was not on the list of counties, surrounding counties including Hays, Travis and Guadalupe were named in the disaster declaration.
In his declaration, Perry urged Texans to “exercise extreme caution as conditions remain favorable for the development of wildfires across the state. Vigilance and good judgment are key to ensuring Texans’ families, homes and places of work remain safe.”
To report illegal burns, contact the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office at (512) 398-6777.