By Chris Edwards
TYLER COUNTY – In a special meeting of the Tyler County Commissioners Court last Thursday, the commissioners ratified the countywide burn ban.
The burn ban, which was reinstated by Tyler County Judge Milton Powers on Sept. 28, will be in effect until it is rescinded by the commissioners. The ban had been lifted for two days after two days of rainfall in late September, however, Judge Powers shared with the officials present on Thursday that there were two or three places in the county that had not received sufficient rain. Dam B, for example, only received 0.9 inches throughout September.
Additionally, Tyler County is still under drought conditions, according to Texas A&M Forest Service mapping and reports.
Initially, the two-day lift of the ban allowed a window of opportunity to allow people to burn, Powers said, but the opportunity evaporated without more rainfall.
“We’re still under a significant drought. I do appreciate the opportunity to burn, though,” said Pct. 1 Commissioner Joe Blacksher.
In another meeting on Tuesday morning, of the Commissioners’ Court, Powers said that rain was expected this week, possibly Wednesday and Thursday, but the county is looking at rainfall on a day-to-day basis, and paying close attention to rainfall amounts.
“We look at those numbers and pray for rain,” he said, and implored everyone in attendance to do the same. “Please pray for rain,” he said.
In the state of Texas, local governments are empowered to take action on the behalf of their constituents, and when drought conditions exist, burn bands can be put in place by a county judge or a county commissioners’ court that prohibit, or restrict, outdoor burning in the name of public safety.
Violation of the ban is a class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $500.