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Travis County Burn Ban Still on Hold

Photo by Doug Beckers

Travis County commissioners voted today to continue allowing controlled burns. They voted unanimously last Tuesday to lift a ban that had been in effect since December 2010, except for a few days in April. Today, all but one commissioner opted not to reinstate the restriction on burning.

At their weekly meeting, commissioners met behind closed doors to discuss the possibility of imposing a burn ban on specific parts of the county.

“We’ve got significant geographic difference between the east side of the county and the west side of the county,” Commissioner Karen Huber told KUT News. “The east side is more farm land. The west side is Ashe Juniper that is dense and very volatile right now.”

Huber was the lone vote in favor of reinstating the ban.

Travis County Fire Marshal Hershel Lee explained last week that recent rains have reduced the risks of wildfires. He says he made the recommendation to lift the ban only after consultation with local fire departments.

Lee says anyone who burns should follow these criteria:

  • Always notify the local fire department before beginning burning.
  • Fires must be small enough to be manageable.
  • Fires must be constantly attended by a competent adult.
  • Fires must be at least 50 feet from any structure.
  • A means to extinguish the fire must be readily available.

Cooking with charcoal is still prohibitedin city and county parks.  

Just yesterday, Bastrop County Commissioners voted to lift their burn ban. It was a remarkable development, considering that only twelve weeks ago a wildfire that burned over 34,000 acres and destroyed over 1,600 homes in the Bastrop area, fueled by tinder-dry conditions.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
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