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Burn Ban Busts Aggie Bonfire Again

The Aggie bonfire in 2005
Photo by mikel_duke
The Aggie bonfire in 2005

Chalk up another casualty of the Texas drought: Texas A&M University’s annual student bonfire was called off because of a burn ban in Robertson County. It’s the second year in a row that Aggie students havehad to cancel the towering 45 foot inferno.

“We’ve been under severe drought conditions now for a year,” Michelle Haver, a court coordinator for the Robertson county judge, told StateImpact Texas a joint reporting project of KUT and NPR.

As the bonfire’s website explains, the stack site will be open to visitors, but “under no circumstances” will they start a fire.

A collapse of the bonfire killed twelve students in 1999, and a memorial was built in their honor.

Across the state, the Texas Forest Service says about 170 of the state’s 254 counties have burn bans in effect. You can see them all on this map.  

Central Texas counties with burn bans include Bastrop, Williamson and Caldwell. Hays, Burnet and Guadalupe Counties do not have burn bans in effect.

The U.S. Drought Monitor’s map signals a slight reduction in the drought’s footprint on Texas, but 89 percent of the state is still very dry. Sixty-five percent of the state is experiencing the most intense drought category: D4 drought or exceptional drought.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Longhorns last night tried to hex the A&M football team ahead of their Thanksgiving Day game. It’s an annual tradition dating back 60 years, but it may come to an end next year when A&M joins another athletic conference.

“It will be the last rally for A&M that we know,” Texas Exes student relations coordinator Taylor Nyberg told The Daily Texan.

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.