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Llano County lifts burn ban

KBDI for Llano and Burnet counties, Oct. 5, 2023

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index indicates that much of Llano County is at very low risk for fires following the early morning rainfall on Oct. 5. The county’s burn ban was lifted after being in place for nearly three months. Texas A&M Forest Service image

Llano County Judge Ron Cunningham lifted the county’s burn ban on Thursday, Oct. 5, after a night of steady rain. The ban had been in place since July 10, preventing outdoor burning during a dangerously hot, dry summer.

Southern Llano County received 1-3.5 inches of rain early Thursday morning, depending on the exact location, according to the Lower Colorado River Authority Hydromet. The north side of the county received 0.25-0.7 inches. 

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index levels in Llano County over most of the summer were within the 700-800 range, which indicates the most extreme fire danger possible on the chart. Levels are now in the 200-300 range, indicating minimal fire risk. The county suffered the largest fire of the season, the Moore Peak fire, in early July when temperatures were topping 107 degrees daily.

The recent rainfall not only soaked the landscape, it also increased inflows into local waterways. At noon on Thursday, the normally dry Sandy Creek was running at 179 cubic-feet per second. The Llano River was flowing at an average rate of 68 cfs, but it could swell further thanks to tributaries upstream, such as Beaver Creek in Mason County, which is reportedly rushing at over 800 cfs.