Harrison and Marion Counties both lifted their outdoor burn bans Friday, following Thursday night’s showers.
“Circumstances and rainfall totals have improved such as to justify the termination and lifting at this time of the previous adopted ban on outdoor burning,” both orders terminating the burn ban stated.
Both counties’ commissioners courts implemented the burn bans on Sept. 3, prohibiting outdoor burning in the unincorporated areas of the respective counties.
The orders to terminate their bans went into effect at noon on Friday. The respective orders were signed by the county judges.
Marshall Fire Chief Reggie Cooper said the city is also following suit, terminating its burn ban order, too.
According to Harrison County’s order, the lifting of the burn ban is appropriate after consulting with Harrison County Fire Marshal Thomas Mock who indicated conditions had improved.
Mock said Friday that he’s been monitoring the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI), which predicts the likelihood of wildfires based on soil moisture and other conditions related to drought. The Texas Forest Service recommends a burn ban be implemented once counties exceed the 575 drought index number mark.
“We were at almost 725, I believe, yesterday,” the fire marshal said of Thursday’s index, “and then as of 10 (a.m.) this morning (Friday), it showed we had dropped to 538.”
Mock said anything below 575 is a sign that fire danger is very low, according to the Texas Forest Service. The fire marshal said he’s especially curious to see what the index will be today, considering the rainy forecast.
“It’s kind of scattered showers,” he said of the county’s conditions. “It’s not total coverage, but we’re getting some pretty good showers.
“Possibly (Saturday) we should be in the 400 (KBDI) range,” said Mock.
Harrison County’s burn ban termination order notes that rainfall overnight and the forecast indicate that conditions in will remain below levels requiring a burn ban.
Marion County’s termination order echoed the same outlook.
“Lifting of the ban is appropriate since conditions have improved in Marion County,” the order states. “Rainfall today and the forecast for the week show further beneficial rainfall across the county.”
Mock said now that the rain is here, he urges drivers to be safe.
“A lot of times it’s been so long since they’ve seen the rain, they forget to slow down on these roads,” the fire marshal said.