Burning Questions For Victoria During a Burn Ban
Monday, Victoria County Commissioners enacted a burn ban for Victoria County, effective, "immediately."
This got me to thinking... "What exactly is a "burn ban" and what are the community's most frequently asked questions?
Victoria County Fire Marshal, Richard Castillo, took a few minutes out of his day to talk to me about burn bans and to answer the most frequently asked questions he hears from Victoria County residents.
A burn ban is a mandatory, yet temporary, order that restricts the use of burning materials such as trash and not limited to, yard waste such as sticks and leaves at the ground level.
According to the Texas A&M Forest Service website here, the KBDI index ( named after John Keetch and George Bryam) is "A daily value representative of the water balance where yesterday’s drought index is balanced with today’s drought factor (precipitation and soil moisture). The drought index ranges from 0 to 800; an index of 0 represents no moisture depletion and an index of 800 represents absolutely dry conditions."
Texas A&M Forest Service works directly with communities across Texas, identifying the communities most vulnerable to wildfires, and helps create Community Wildfire Preparedness Plans.
A burn ban for Victoria County is issued when the KBDI index reaches over 599. The burn ban for Victoria County is recommended by our Victoria County Fire Marshal, Richard Castillo but is issued by our Victoria County Commissioners Court. Fire Marshal Castillo updates the court on the status weekly, coinciding with the weekly meetings of the Victoria County Commissioner Court, held in Victoria on Mondays at 10 am.
"We are looking at the fire load of at 600 right now... six to eight hundred, with low humidity in our area, is the worst time to burn. It's perfect to ignite." Castillo offers.
Here are three of the most "burning" questions asked about burn bans in Victoria County. Thank you Victoria County Fire Marshal Castillo for your time and effort to keep our community safe.
1. Where can we burn during a burn ban?
" During a burn ban, household trash can be burned inside of a barrel with a screen on top of the barrel. You can not burn trash or yard debris on the ground during a burn ban. During a burn ban, only trash typical of a household can be burned and again in a covered barrel only. You can not burn limbs or lawn material even in a barrel during a burn ban.
Burning trash inside a barrel during a burn ban is the only thing allowed, anything burned directly on the ground is illegal during a burn ban, including bonfires and campfires.
Patio fire pits are acceptable, if they are contained and off the ground.
2. What about when we see farmers burning pasture during a burn ban?
" Most likely the landowner is burning with a "prescribed" burn ban. Prescribed burns are ONLY agricultural and are administered by certified prescribed burns.
3. What about outdoor grilling?
"Yes! You can get out there and grill on your fire pit!"
Victoria County Fire Marshal Richard Castillo offers that if you ANY have questions, you can call him at the Victoria County Fire Marshal's office from 7am to 4pm at 361.579.9103
Fire Marshal Castillo offers his final thoughts. " We are very fortunate in Victoria County because unlike some of our surrounding counties, whom we all work together when needed, we have 11 volunteer stations in Victoria with 250 volunteer firefighters."
Thank you to the men and women who volunteer to keep our community safe!
If you aren't sure if there is a burn ban in our area, simply click here for an up-to-date map of Texas for real-time burn ban warnings presented by Texas A&M Forest Service for the Great State of Texas.
Penalties for burning during a burn ban can lead to a fine of up to $600.00