By Chris Edwards
IVANHOE — In a special-called meeting last Monday, the Ivanhoe City Council continued a citywide burn ban originally instituted earlier in the month.
Mayor pro-tem Tommy Morris called the meeting to order, as Mayor Cathy Bennett was away on vacation. The resolution, which council passed on Oct. 4, originally, prohibits any outdoor burning, due to drought conditions.
The current burn ban is the second citywide burn ban issued this year. At present, a countywide burn ban is also standing, having been passed by the Tyler County Commissioners Court after a disaster
declaration made by County Judge Jacques Blanchette.
The lack of sufficient rainfall as of late has been a statewide concern, and fire analysts have cited the potential for significant wildfires throughout the pineywoods region, as well as southeast and central Texas.
The dry conditions across the state have been “significant” as far as fires go, according to Wes Moorehead, who serves at the Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Chief.
Burn bans occur when local governments are empowered to take action on the behalf of constituents when drought conditions exist. Burn bans are put in place by county judges or county commissioners to prohibit or restrict outdoor burning in the name of public safety.
According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, nine out of 10 wildfires are caused by human activity, which means that most wildfires could be prevented by taking simple actions.
Woodville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Alan Gartner said on Monday that the county’s fire departments have been busy, and reminded all county residents of the existing burn bans. “Please stop burning,” Gartner said.
“It is important that all residents take care to prevent wildfires while conditions are windy and dry,” said Karen Stafford, Texas A&M Forest Service Prevention Program Coordinator. “Consider waiting to conduct any outdoor burning or lighting campfires until conditions improve. Even if your county does not have a burn ban in place, we encourage everyone to be cautious with any activity that may cause a spark.”