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Burn Bans Issued for Austin and Central Texas

Dry conditions have led to more burn bans being issued for Austin and surrounding areas.

The ban temporarily prohibits open fires and grilling in parks. Smoking continues to be prohibited in parks. The ban does not include propane grills and stoves in designated picnic areas.

Victor Ovalle, spokesperson for the Parks and Recreation Department, says the ban will be in effect until dangerous fire hazard conditions subside. Violations may result in a $300 to $500 fine.

"As you know we had a fire in Oak Hill a couple of years ago," Ovalle says. "We want to make sure that not only that the patrons that are using our parks are safe but that we also try and prevent fires from happening on our green belts or parks."

Hershel Lee, Travis County Fire Marshal, is responsible for determining when to issue a burn ban. Like the Austin's Parks and Recreation Department, he considers rainfall to be one of the more important factors in making a decision to implement a burn ban. 

"[The ban] is set to expire July 31st unless we get rain, unless conditions change," Lee says. "Currently Travis County is predicted to be warmer than normal ... Until we get some significant rain over a several day period of time, I think we will probably remain in a burn ban."

According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, 136 counties are currently under burn bans in Texas.

Other Burn Bans in Effect:

Sebastian Herrera is an intern reporter for KUT News. He is also a sports writer for The Daily Texan and a journalism student at the University of Texas at Austin. He is currently working towards his bachelor's degree and concentration in sports journalism. Sebastian was born in Bogotá, Colombia and grew up in Dallas, TX.
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