Two days of substantial rain this week washed away outdoor burning restrictions in Wharton County Friday – but just barely.
The next few days, officials say, will determine if outdoor burning continues to be allowed or if the restriction is put back in place.
Wharton County uses the state’s zero to 800 Keetch-Byram Drought Index to determine if a burn ban is needed. At 500, an area is considered to be at extreme danger for wildfire
Friday, Wharton County’s average was 493, according to the Wharton County Office of Emergency Management.
“The weekend looks dry, so we might be jumping back,” Wharton County Emergency Management Coordinator Andy Kirkland said.
The county makes the determination on Monday. If a ban is needed, it would not go into effect until just before sundown Wednesday.
The forecast for early next week, however, calls for rain, so no ban may be needed.
Clouds have dropped 2.89 inches of rain over El Campo in the last seven days, according to the Lower Colorado River Authority gauge located on the grounds of the hospital.
Wharton meanwhile received 2.31 inches during the same interval, but only .88 inches dropped around Glen Flora.
“These things are really hit and miss. You can get two inches (of rain) and your neighbor has dust blowing in his yard,” Kirkland said.
Anyone who wants to burn while the ban is lifted needs to follow all state outdoor burning restrictions and contact the sheriff’s department at 979-543-1373 or 979-532-1550.
“And, people need to understand, if you are burning and it goes out of control ... you’re responsible for the damages,” Kirkland said.
A publication on the restrictions is available at: https://www.tceq.texas.gov/…/p…/comm_exec/pubs/rg/rg-049.pdf.