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BURNET — As rain remains scarce Christmas week, a burn ban is still in effect for the rural parts of Burnet County, officials said Monday.

“It is still on, and it will probably stay on,” said County Environmental Services spokeswoman Jenny Barr. “Because weather conditions are still very dry, and there is no rain in sight.”

To date, however, the Burnet County Commissioners Court has not prohibited any fireworks, Barr added.

Still, residents must “be extremely cautious and careful when using fireworks” during the holidays, she said.

The commissioners declared the burn ban earlier this month. It could remain in effect through March, depending on the rainfall, officials said.

Several “standard exceptions” to the burn ban are allowed, including fires for “ceremony and warmth” and livestock.

Violators are subject to a fine and Class C misdemeanor charges.

As a precaution, call the Sheriff’s Office at (512) 756-8080 before lighting any fires outside, officials said.

While using fireworks, the Texas Forest Service recommends:

• Keep tools and water nearby just in case a fire starts.

• Read and follow label instructions on how to properly discharge fireworks.

• Only use fireworks with close adult supervision.

• Use fireworks only in areas clear of dead, dry grass and weeds.

• Avoid using aerial fireworks around buildings. Winds can carry hot fireworks onto roofs where leaves or other flammable debris may have accumulated.

State officials advise residents to take precautions against wildfires during Christmas, including:

• Remove and dispose natural Christmas trees soon after the holidays. Consider community tree recycling projects. Used natural Christmas trees can be ground up for mulch or to stabilize sand dunes, serve as underwater structures for fish in a lake or pond or as shelter for birds and other wildlife.

• Dispose of wrapping paper, boxes and other Christmas waste properly. Recycle materials where practical. Avoid burning paper and cardboard outside of a burn barrel or other fire-proof receptacle topped by a metal screen or grill, as winds can spread burning paper and cardboard scraps long distances into dry vegetation.

“Any time the state experiences dry periods during which strong, gusty winds are present, the threat of wildfires will be elevated,” said forest service spokesman Bruce Woods. “Extra precautions with outdoor fire use will be needed if wildfires are to be avoided.”

raymond@thepicayune.com