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Keetch-Byram Drought Index for Texas

The Llano County Commissioners Court approved a burn ban a countywide burn ban as of Monday, Aug. 23. The Keetch-Byram Drought Index shows a large portion of the county is drying out after recent rains. Image courtesy of Texas A&M Forest Service

As hot, dry weather returns to the Highland Lakes, the Llano County Commissioners Court issued a countywide burn ban as of Monday, Aug. 23. Under the ban, open fires are a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $500 fine. 

The countywide ban includes Kingsland, Buchanan Dam, Sandy Harbor, Bluffton, and all unincorporated areas. Residents in Llano, Sunrise Beach Village, and Horseshoe Bay should check with their local fire departments or city offices on the status of burn bans in their areas. 

One tool officials use in determining if a burn ban is needed is the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, which helps give a picture of drought conditions. According to the Texas A&M Forest Service’s latest index estimate, a large portion of Llano County falls within the 400-500 range of the scale. This means “wildfire intensity begins to increase significantly. Wildfires will readily burn and larger fuels could burn or smolder for several days,” according to fire service information. 

The fire service recently issued tips on protecting homes and acreage during fire season. 

Another swath of Llano County also is in the 300-400 range, which indicates wildfire fuels are beginning to dry out, though larger fuels might not regularly ignite and burn.

Call the Llano County judge’s office at 325-247-7730 or the Llano County Sheriff’s Office at 325-247-5767 for more information. 

editor@thepicayune.com