Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

January 2, 2013

County lifts burn ban

North Texas should expect normal spring

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — The Navarro County Burn Ban was lifted as of noon Wednesday, a reaction to cooler temperatures and recent rains, according to County Judge H.M. Davenport.

“For now the National Weather Service indicates a low threat of fires due to higher humidity, low to moderate wind speeds, and normal fuel dryness. Thankfully fire calls have been very slow to this point as hopefully folks have used great caution with any open flames,” Davenport stated.

Rainfall between 3/4 of an inch and 1 1/2 inches has fallen in the last seven days, bringing higher humidity levels, and even though it won’t revive grass that has turned dry and yellow, it has helped the situation and made it relatively safer to burn.

The KBDI Index, which takes into account factors such as moisture in the grass and humidity, is about 530 now, according to Eric Myers, Navarro County Emergency Management Coordinator.

“We’re going to continue to watch things,” he said. “Obviously, one of the big factors is the fire threat index. For the next seven days, that’s relatively low.”

“We know we’ve got a lot of dormant or dead vegetation because of the freezes, but because of other conditions, not having substantial winds or high threat index days, the commission went ahead and lifted the ban to give people relief, to get rid of brush piles or things they need to get rid of,” Myers said. “We’re monitoring the calls. Our fire calls have been really low. It may be a temporary situation, but we’ll continue to monitor it.”

Several other counties around have also lifted their burn bans, Myers said.

“People need to use common sense, and not burn when it’s windy, and put up defensive barriers,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll have that (common sense) and people aren’t going to burn in 20 mile-per-hour winds. Obviously, if that happens I think you’ll see the burn ban come back pretty quick.”

Although the figures aren’t finalized for 2012 yet, the fall of this past year is believed to be one of the driest since record-keeping began in this area in 1895, said Mark Wiley with the National Weather Service.

“It’s about a top five, as far as dryness is concerned,” he said. “Fortunately, we have had a little bit of rain in the last two weeks.”

With no El Niño, or La Niña in sight, spring promises to be an average spring with average rainfall, Wiley said.

“We’re in neutral conditions now,” he said. “It just basically looks like an average spring.”

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “soundoff” to this article? Email: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com