Court 'ratifies' disaster declaration

Scorched earth remained in areas where hundreds of acres burned in Hoover's Valley (pictured here) in Burnet County. Officials opted recently to keep a burn ban in place.




UPDATE: On Aug. 14, Burnet County Commissioners rescinded the Disaster Declaration but opted to continue a less restrictive ban on outdoor burning.

By Connie Swinney
Burnet Bulletin

Due to the worsening fire danger, Burnet County Commissioners Aug. 6 approved restricting outdoor burning including activities such as outdoor cooking and burning cactus for livestock feed as well as welding and grinding projects without safeguards.

The commissioners court took action in a 4-0 vote which essentially “ratified” a Declaration of Disaster and order Prohibiting Outdoor Burning (Sec. 418.108) issued July 30 by Burnet County Judge James Oakley.

Oakley's emergency order was set to expire in seven days and will now remain in effect indefinitely, pending action by the court or the judge.

A string of wildfires throughout the unincorporated area of the county in July and drought conditions — calculated through the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) — prompted the decision.

Local and state first responders battled at least seven seperate fires primarily on ranchland in Burnet, Llano, Blanco and Lampasas counties.

During a wildfire on July 30, authorities evacuated about 150 residents as the blazed scorched more than 500 acres near CR 116 and Park Road 4, threatening a fish hatchery and state park.

Officials say lack of rain and a climbing KBDI hastened the decision to continue the more restrictive burn ban order . . .

Find more on this story in the Tuesday, Aug. 10 issue of The Highlander.

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