Fire dangers run rampant throughout county


By LPR Staff


Unseasonably high temperatures and days of raging winds have prompted the Caldwell County Commissioners’ Court to keep an outdoor burning ban in place, despite requests from area residents to have the burn lifted.

Commissioner Joe Roland said on Monday that over the last several days, he has talked to a number of farmers and ranche

rs who have asked that the burn ban be lifted, allowing them to dispose of brush cleared from their property. Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Parker expressed concerns about the request.

“We [Parker and representatives from the Texas Forest Service] have looked at it and even though there is green grass and several parts of the county have received rain, it’s not a good idea to lift the ban at this time,” Parker said.

Parker did note that so-called prescribed burns are an option for some owners, but said they were more difficult to plan than some people believe.

“When you do a prescribed burn, it gets planned out, exactly what you can burn, when you can do it, and tzhey are supervised by experts,” he said. “And there’s still a danger there. If someone goes through the process to get a prescribed burn, and someone else sees them burning, they might want go and burn on their property as well, and that’s just not a good idea.”

Some counties have put a permitting process in place that allows for property owners to burn brush in a safe manner, under supervision, and meeting specific guidelines. Although such a process has been discussed, Caldwell County does not presently offer burning permits.

Across the state, several areas are fighting with massive, out-of-control fires, and Parker said the danger in Caldwell County continues to grow. He asked that property owners and area residents continue to be vigilant and avoid activities that could inadvertently cause grass fires.

The Commissioners voted unanimously to keep the ban in place.

In other business, the Court offered several recognitions on Monday.

They signed a proclamation declaring April 10-18 as “National Crime Victims’ Rights Week,” after hearing information from volunteers with the Lockhart Victim Assistance Team.

The Court also entered a proclamation declaring April as both Child Abuse Prevention Month and Fair Housing Month.

In brief news:

The panel approved travel expenses for AgriLife Extension Agent Carissa Wilhelm to travel to Chicago for a training program that she said will help her provide service to “at-risk youth,” a group she said more than half of her local programs target.

They approved a request from the Prairie Lea Baptist Church to waive the fees for the installation of a septic system.

The Court approved a number of budget items that shifted funds from one area to another in an effort to continue with a balanced budget while meeting unforeseen expenses.

The County paid bills in the amount of $133,874.51, which includes $8,887.78 for indigent legal defense and $18,782.71 for indigent health care.

After the regular meeting, the Commissioners convened in an executive session with Assistant District Attorney Ron Heggemeier to discuss the recovery of losses related to County funds, presumably in connection with a recent indictment brought against a former County employee who is accused of embezzling money from the County.

They did not, however, discuss the advice Heggemeier offered during the executive session during an open forum.

The Caldwell County Commissioners’ Court meets on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in the conference room at the Scott Annex, 1403 Blackjack St., in Lockhart. The meetings are open to the public and interested parties are encouraged to attend and participate.


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