Burnet County Precinct 1 Commissioner Jim Luther and the other members of the Commissioners Court are keeping a close eye on the dry conditions across the county. Though commissioners didn’t enact a burn ban during their June 9 meeting, they could issue an emergency order if conditions warrant it before the next regular meeting. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton
Conditions aren’t quite right for an outdoor burn ban in Burnet County, but commissioners are concerned that will soon change.
Burnet County Development Services coordinator Herb Darling, who monitors drought and fire conditions for the county, told the Commissioners Court on June 9 that small fuels such as grasses and wildflowers are drying up in southern and southwestern Burnet, while larger fuels like brush, shrubs, and trees still hold enough moisture to not warrant a burn ban in unincorporated areas — for now.
“We’re entering that period where people need to be extremely cautious when doing outside activities and not just burning,” Darling said.
The Highland Lakes is entering a hot, dry weather pattern.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Jim Luther pointed out that triple-digit temperatures early this week followed by low humidity by midweek will wick away moisture from grasses and brush, making them more susceptible to fires.
County Judge James Oakley added that those wanting to conduct an outdoor burn should call the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office at 512-756-8080 to let officials know beforehand. The sheriff’s office also can let residents know if the county is under a red flag warning due to high winds. On those days, outdoor burning is not allowed.
“We’ll keep a real close eye on this,” Oakley added.
County officials can issue an emergency burn ban if conditions deteriorate severely between the June 9 meeting and the next regular Commissioners Court meeting June 23.
In other business, Oakley briefed the court on COVID-19 case numbers in Burnet County. The latest numbers from the state as of June 8 included 57 confirmed cases in Burnet County. Of those, 42 are listed as recovered and one has died, which was reported May 27.
The judge added that the Burnet Fire Department offers COVID-19 antibody testing by appointment only. Contact the fire department during weekday business hours at 512-756-2662 extension 0 to make an appointment. The test is $42 and can be billed to your insurance provider.