Grass fires not burn ban violations
By LPR Staff
A rash of fires that left more than 300 acres in Caldwell County charred last week may not be the result of any illegal burning activity.
According to Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Parker, a number of fires that erupted in rural Caldwell County between Wednesday afternoon and Monday evening, though destructive, we
re probably not the result of direct violations of the outdoor burning ban.
“On Wednesday out in Lytton Springs, we had one large fire and a few smaller ones that were caused by someone pulling another vehicle and shooting sparks from the road,” Parker said. “On Thursday, a property owner was driving his sedan through a field and his catalytic converter or exhaust system probably started that one.”
Wednesday’s fire burned more than 35 acres and drew the attention of Austin media. Thursday’s fire, between McMahan and Delhi, charred more than 230 acres and required the attention of all the county’s volunteer fire departments.
“When we’re under a burn ban, it is legal to burn household trash,” Parker said. “And I think folks are starting to get the message that, even though they can burn, they shouldn’t do it on windy days.”
Historically, a large percentage of Caldwell County’s grass fires were ignited accidentally, often by residents burning household trash or brush and stalk growth in their fields.
Despite cooler weather, Parker said fire danger in Caldwell County remains high, and the county is likely to remain under a burn ban throughout the winter.
“Everything is getting dry, and just keeps on turning more and more brown,” he said. “As the green stops being productive and everything keeps drying out, I just can’t see any change in the ban, without some significant rain activity.”
Parker also reported forecasts indicate an unusually dry winter, increasing the chance for fires.
“It’s going to get more dangerous the longer it stays this dry,” he said. “If people can just remember not to burn when it’s windy, we should be okay.”