The brief showers which rolled across El Campo and Wharton County over the Labor Day weekend weren’t enough to wash the burn ban away.

The widely scattered showers helped, Wharton County Emergency Management Coordinator Andy Kirkland said, but it just wasn’t enough.

“The Burn Ban for Wharton County remains in effect today (Tuesday). Our KBDI average value is 532, ranging from 354 to 666.”

Wharton County uses the state’s Keetch-Byram Drought Index to determine if a burn ban is needed.

The zero to 800 scale measures moisture missing from soil based on a county-wide average. At zero, ground is squishy (super-saturated). Each 100 points up the scale means soil would need roughly an inch of slow, soaking rain to become throughly soggy.

At 500, an area is considered to be at extreme danger for wildfire. 

Rains Tuesday are being monitored. If enough rain falls, the ban will be immediately lifted.

In the meantime, fire officials urge the public to exercise extreme caution with anything that could cause a spark outdoors.

It is never legal to burn inside the city limits of El Campo.

Burn ban violators in the county could face fines and can be held accountable for any damaged caused by a wildfire initiated with a deliberate blaze.

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