Gregg Co. burn ban ends, Rusk Co. continues

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Gregg County Commissioners Monday stuck with their earlier decision to lift the ban on outside burning.

The rain the county has received and is expected to receive has eliminated the immediate threat of wildfires in the county and allowed the commissioners to terminate the burn ban County Judge Bill Stoudt enacted Oct. 16 and the court extended it Oct. 30.

According to the declaration, “Whereas, there has been sufficient rainfall in Gregg County; and whereas, drought conditions have abated in Gregg County; and whereas, the threat of disaster from wildfire no longer exists in Gregg County; it is therefore ordered that the Order banning open fires in the unincorporated areas of Gregg County, Texas, is hereby permanently terminated in Commissioners’ Court on this date.”

As part of the decision to enact and terminate burn bans, Stoudt and Gregg County Fire Marshal Mark Moore look at the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, which measures the moisture in grass and vegetation.

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index shows Gregg County in the 500-600 category, which is one level lower than when the burn ban was enacted.

Outdoor burning is not permitted within the Kilgore city limits, except with a permit and under certain exceptions of “small fires used solely for recreation or ceremonial purposes such as the noncommercial preparation of food or the providing of warmth in cold weather, such as small campfires.”

Rusk County remains under its burn ban, according to the county’s website, making it one of 62 counties in the state, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service, to be operating under a burn ban. This means outdoor burning is not permitted anywhere in Rusk County, including unincorporated areas not covered by city ordinances.

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