By Jason Chlapek
Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy put a burn ban in place for unincorporated parts of the county Tuesday.
The ban was put in place because of drought conditions caused by a lack of rain int he area. There were other circumstances as well.
“Fire events in neighboring counties and drying out of fuel material,” Samuel Murra of the Polk County Office of Emergency Management said. “We’re getting really dry and KBDI (Keetch-Byram Drought Index) is getting high.”
Murra, the Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator, said La Nina is likely the reason for the lack of rain. La Nina conditions historically translate into warmer and drier than normal conditions for Texas during the winter and spring fire season.
A La Nina advisory was put into place Nov. 12. The Climate Prediction Center believes that La Nina will likely continue into the spring.
Murra said the burn ban is at least the second put in place this year. One was put in place following the tornado that touched down in the county in late April.
While the burn ban only applies to unincorporated areas of the county, the city of Corrigan also issued a burn ban. The city of Onalaska is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to discuss whether or not to put a burn ban in place.
“Be careful, especially with yard work,” Murra said. “While mowing, make sure you’re not accidentally causing a fire. Be careful with cigarettes or any ignition sorts. Always be cognizant of what’s going on.”