By James Draper
Gladewater’s burn ban has not been lifted, folks.
Not only hasn’t there been enough significant rainfall to improve drought conditions, in fact the situation’s become more severe.
That’s not just Gladewater, of course. The Keetch-Byram Drought Index shows the entire area remains at risk for wildfires, regardless of whether or not burn bans are still in place.
“We are currently in high fire danger conditions,” Gladewater Fire Chief Mike Simmons reiterated Monday. “We are at 767 on the KBDI.”
It’s another degree worse than a few weeks ago, when Simmons was hopeful enough rainfall was ahead to lower the local KBDI to 600 – the threshold to lift citywide restrictions on outdoor burning of any form. The rain the area received wasn’t nearly enough.
A small burn pile can quickly become a big problem, and Gladewater firefighters have been responding to more incidents in unincorporated areas where counties have lifted burn bans despite the KBDI’s cautions.
“If you’re in a county where the burn ban has been lifted,” Simmons warned, “burn small piles, make sure you have a water supply, do not leave the fire unattended. Make sure you fully extinguish the fire, that there’s no smoke coming out of it.”
Importantly, again, that only applies to unincorporated areas – the city’s ban trumps a county’s lack of one.
“The City of Gladewater is still under burn ban along with Gregg County,” Simmons emphasized. “Until rain comes, and a significant amount of rain, we’ll definitely be in it.”
By James Draper