Burn ban remains in place

Temperatures have been markedly cooler and recent rains have certainly been refreshing, but the area is still very much in the wildfire danger zone.
Gladewater Fire Chief Mike Simmons’ is as grateful as anyone for the milder weather of recent days, but he’s especially thankful local residents have respected the county burn bans that have been in place since early August.
Fortunately, there have been no major incidents to speak of within Gladewater, though firefighters have responded to other flare-ups and are taking reports of smoke very seriously.
“We’ve had a few tiny things, and most of those are outside the city limits,” Simmons said. “We’ve been holding our own and doing well.”
Don’t let the break in the high temperatures and a handful of rainy days create a false sense of security, he says.
“I know we’ve got some cooler weather coming, but I don’t know when they’ll lift the burn ban.”
According to the Keech-Byrum Drought Index (KBDI) the area is sitting at 738 on the dryness reference scale, which has a max of 800. Even with recent precipitation, Simmons added, dryness is still increasing.
It will take significant moisture to make up for the current deficit and other positive developments to mitigate the fire risk overall.
“It doesn’t have to do with just rainfall, but also temperatures, heating, fuel loads, winds and, also, precipitation,” Simmons noted. “We typically go into the burn ban at 600. It’s 738 with the arrow going up, so it’s still drying out.”
When the local KBDI drops below 600, officials will consider lifting the burn ban. Meanwhile, “We appreciate our citizens for adhering to the burn ban.”

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