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Burn Bans in Place in a Record 249 Counties

A record number of burn bans are in place in Texas with 249 counties.
Photo by KUT News
A record number of burn bans are in place in Texas with 249 counties.

The Texas Forest Service maintains a map of which counties in the state have outdoor burn bans, and notes them in red. As of this morning, the map makes Texas look like it's got a bad sunburn.

The map shows 248 counties that have enacted burn bans. (Although, a call to Brooks County, found it did have a burn ban in effect. The map does not reflect that).Only Zapata, Wilacy, Galveston, Chambers, Jefferson, Orange and part of Jackcounty do not have burn bans in place.

Juan Meza, the fire marshal coordinator for Zapata county in the southwest part of Texas, said he doesn't have a problem with residents burning.

"Once you have a burn ban in place it's hard for ranchers. Most of the ranchers, when there's a big drought, they do need to burn for their cattle," Meza said.

Meza added that if there were problems with fire, officials would instate a burn ban. "Sometimes it's a good idea to have one in place, depending on the situation with fires," he said.

According to the fire marshal's office, Zapata County has received more rain than Central Texas. Some areas in the border county have received up to four inches of rainfall since June. In contrast, Central Texas has received 0.05 of an inch.


Kelsey Johnson is a summer intern with KUT news. She is a recent graduate from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications with an emphasis in electronic media.
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