With Henderson County dry and getting drier, the Commissioners Court instituted a 30 day burn ban, Tuesday.
Fire Marshal Shane Renberg said although the county rating on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, which measures moisture in the soil, was approaching the 575 mark that the commissioners use as a threshold for considering a ban, the fuel load provided by dying vegetation is an even bigger concern.
"It's not the frequency of the fires, right now, that I'm worried about," he said. "It's how fast they're spreading."
A fire Monday on Farm-to-Market Road 316, near Eustace began from an 18 wheeler dragging a chain and sending sparks into a grassy area.
"It set seven or eight spots down the road," Renberg said. "Luckily the fire departments got there rather quickly."
He said a brush fire was reported on County Road 1411 near Log Cabin that involved a vacant structure. Several departments responded to the blaze that burned a building and RV.
Log Cabin VFD had command, with assist from Payne Springs, Eustace, Caney City and Malakoff.
The Henderson County Keetch-Byram average on Tuesday was 564. The driest portion of the county scored 637, while the wettest was 424.
"I spoke with all 22 fire chiefs yesterday and every single one of them is in favor of a burn ban right now," Renberg said.
He said the ban will not prevent residents from grilling over the Independence Day holiday or the use of fireworks where legal, no trash piles can be burned. and no fires can be set in an open pit.
Keetch-Byram Index averages for area counties:
• Anderson – 579
• Cherokee – 605
• Ellis – 538
• Kaufman – 519
• Henderson – 564
• Navarro – 521
• Van Zandt – 549
In other action the court approved:
applying for the fiscal year 2022 Bulletproof Vest Partnership, to replace about 50 vests during 2024-2025;
a grant administration service contract and required Texas Community Development Block Grant start-up forms for GrantWorks to continue managing a water system expansion project for the Crescent Heights Water Supply Corp;
an interlocal agreement between the City of Malakoff and Henderson County concerning maintenance on County Road 1705 and County Road 1400;
a right-of-way permit for Oncor Electric Delivery to continue work on County Road 1200, in Precinct 1;
a right-of-way permit for Crescent Heights WSC to extend a water line along County Road 1220;
payment of May sales tax bills in the amount of $1,561.55 and
payment of fiscal year 2022 bills totaling $435,554.54.