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WilCo Nixes Smoking In Parks, Hays Extends Burn Ban

Photo by City of Round Rock
Southwest Williamson County Regional Park is one the places affected by the smoking ban.

Williamson County followed Austin’s lead today and banned smoking in parks, nature preserves, and along trails. The parched conditions make it ripe for wildfires. Outdoor cooking is still allowed as long as it’s done in an enclosure that contains all flames and sparks.

Austin banned smoking and charcoal grilling in parks back in April. The restriction will remain in effect during the Austin City Limits music festival, which takes place in Austin’s Zilker Park this weekend.

Separately, Hays County Commissioners voted today to extend their burn ban for an additional 90 days. The county uses the Keetch-Byram Drought Index to measure soil moisture. A reading of 800 is total lack of moisture. Today’s reading was 786.

The burn ban restricts all outdoor burning except charcoal and gas grills. People who violate the ban can be fined up to $500.

Currently, all but five of Texas 254 counties have burn bans in effect. Check out a .pdf of the burn ban map here.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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