Warmer, dryer conditions raise fire risk

Van Zandt County has found itself in a relatively rare position during the dog days of summer so far, benefitting from unseasonably heavy rainfalls early in the year and ducking hundred degree temperatures until just recently.

With July fading into August and a steadier onslaught of the usual summer conditions for East Texas, favorable conditions for grass fires are also on the rise.

Van Zandt County Fire Marshal Chuck Allen said earlier this week that most departments in the county had reported relatively steady numbers to date.

Every city in the county has ordinances in place that ban the burning of brush or trash within the city limits. Allen explained that while permits are not required to burn in Van Zandt County (outside the local city limits), a few guidelines should always be followed when burning brush or garbage to limit potentially hazardous situations.

Allen also offered a series of tips for those planning to burn any brush or trash:

-Have a water hose or fire extinguisher within reach.

-You are only allowed by State Law to burn in an approved barrel or cement lined pit for burning trash.

-You can only burn household trash that is made on the premises. 

-When burning in a barrel or pit, always use a screen or cover.

-Stay with the burn barrel while it is burning, do not leave it unattended.

-Burning anything such as shingles, tires, insulation, tar products, oils, or other products that produce toxic smoke are illegal. You are subject to felony charges if found to be doing this type of burning.

-Do not burn when the wind is over 5 miles per hour.

-Do not burn when the wind is blowing towards your neighbor. Burning household trash can result in criminal charges if the smoke you are generating affects someone else health.

-When burning large brush piles or pastures, be sure that you have a plow line around the area.

-Have a water source available to extinguish the fire.

-Contact the Sheriff Office dispatch at 903-567-4133 and let them know you are doing a controlled burn. This will prevent the fire department from showing up and making a false run.

-If a fire gets out of control, immediately call 911, don’t wait to see if you can put it out first, get the fire department rolling and they can always be disregarded.  

 

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