Athens Review, Athens, Texas

October 9, 2012

Burn ban expires in the western part of the county

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — Without any fanfare, the Henderson County Commissioners Court let the burn ban that had been intact for the western part of the county expire Tuesday.

County Judge Richard Sanders explained at the end of the meeting that the ban was not on the agenda, because no action was needed to let it expire at the end of its 14-day run.

The ban, covering the section of the county west of State Highway 19, had been in effect since Sept. 25.

It’s been an on-again-off-again situation concerning the ban for the past few weeks. On July 30, Commissioners adopted a ban for the western end of the county.

Fire Marshall Darrell Furrh said he’d never asked for a burn ban on a portion of the county before, but added that state law allows the Commissioners that option. The extreme difference in moisture between the county’s west and east side created a need to impose the westside ban, Furrh said.

Rains the final two days of September improved the west-end conditions, but not in time to get the burn ban on the Oct. 2 agenda. Consequently, the ban was allowed to continue until it’s 14-day run was complete.

The ending of the Henderson County ban means just about all of East Texas is without a ban. The exception is Bowie County in the far northeast tip of the state. Ellis and Freestone counties are the nearest to Henderson County to still have a ban.

Henderson County, which at one time had a reading on the Keetch-Byrum Drought Index of more than 700, is now in the 200 to 300 range.