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October 18, 2011

County discusses lifting burn ban

Athens — A burn ban remains in place in Henderson County, but two County Commissioners said Tuesday that they would favor lifting it for a short time. Unless they vote to extend it, the ban will expire Oct. 25.

Fire Marshal Darrell Furrh told the Commissioners Court that although the drought conditions have improved slightly due to recent rains, the entire county is still beyond the threshold on the Keetch-Bynum Drought Index, where a burn ban is recommended. The county average of 675 is 100 points above that mark.

“The county averages 46.65 inches per-year,” Furrh said. “This year the total is 13.75 inches.”

That follows below average rainfall for the entire year 2010.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Ronny Lawrence and Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Geeslin said it might be wise for the county to lift the ban for about a week to allow residents to burn some of the debris that has been accumulating.

Furrh said the ban is important for the safety of the people in the community, as well as for firefighters.

“The more runs they make, the more likely that someone gets hurt,” Furrh said.

Even when there is no burn ban in place, the outdoor burning law in Texas actually outlaws burning trash in Texas with a few exceptions,” Furrh said.

According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, The Outdoor Burning Rule first prohibits outdoor burning anywhere within the state of Texas, and then allows for exceptions for specific situations in which burning is necessary.

“Burning trash is a privilege, not a right,” Furrh said.

Commissioners also approved a request from Henderson County Tax Office for a refund in the amount of $7,418.40 to Robert and Carol Wright in Pinnacle Phase II. This is a court-ordered value reduction from $2,027,940 to $1,600,000 for the year of 2010, Anita Smith of the Tax Office said.

Commissioners authorized payment of bills in the amount of $109,898.82.

The meeting was held in the new room designed especially for that purpose in the new Henderson County Annex.


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