A MESSAGE TO MONTGOMERY COUNTY FROM FIRE MARSHAL JIMMY WILLIAMS
Montgomery County remains in a long term “Exceptional Drought” . Recent rainfall has eased fire danger over the past two day, hot and dry conditions expected to return.
Link to Fire Danger information
Wildfires and Violations of Outdoor Burning Ban
Southeast Texas is experiencing historic drought conditions. Several wildfires have occurred in Montgomery County with most damage limited to vegetation and outbuildings, however some fires have damaged homes recently. In the past 2 weeks these fires have been larger and are progressively harder to control. Although Montgomery County has not seen such catastrophic wildfires as the rest of Texas, current conditions should be cause for concern for all Montgomery County residents.
Firefighters from Montgomery County have responded to several major wildfires, with the most recent fires located Grimes and Walker County. The Texas Forest Service has staged additional resources such as bulldozer teams and aircraft in Southeast Texas to meet the growing threat, and these resources have been instrumental in bringing the recent fires under control. Firefighters from Montgomery County, as well as State and Federal Forest Service units assisted in bringing these fires under control.
Since the implementation of a burn ban in April this year, Montgomery County Firefighters have responded to over 900 violations. Each of these occurrences takes Firefighters away from their primary duties. In addition, response by Law Enforcement takes Officers away from their regular duties as well.
Since June 13th, Montgomery County firefighters have responded to 55 wildfires; Since the implementation of the ban several fires have damaged homes or structures
April 12, 2011 – 25300 Blk of Weeren Rd, Montgomery
Occupant was burning tree limbs and caught his barn on fire, totally destroying it
April 12, 2011 – Kingsport Dr, Splendora
A wildfire estimated at 12 acres destroyed one vacant outbuilding
April 13, 2011 – Pinewood Dr, Porter
A wildfire damaged a small outbuilding and a neighbor’s fence
April 28th, 2011 – Tamina Rd, South Montgomery County
A fast moving grass fire damaged a small outbuilding
May 17th, 2011- 29300 Blk of Binefield, South Montgomery County
A wildfire started by an illegal burn burned a shed and fence, burned within 10 ft of a home
May 29th, 2011 – 23600 Blk of 2nd St., New Caney
A fast moving fire caused by an illegal burn spread to within 20 feet of a wood frame home and destroyed one outbuilding
May 31st, 2011 – 22000 Blk of Wren Rd, New Caney
A woods fire of suspicious origin destroyed a vacant mobile home
June 18th, 2011 – 10100 Blk of Sleepy Hollow, South Montgomery County
A small roadside fire ignited by a carelessly discarded cigarette quickly spread to more than an acre, damaging an occupied single family home
As the burn ban continues, most residents are complying and the numbers of fires caused by illegal burns have dropped dramatically. Most recent fires were caused by downed power lines, children playing with fire, and roadside starts from discarded cigarettes or vehicle malfunctions.
Officers with the Montgomery County Fire Marshal’s Office continue to respond to new reports of illegal burning each day, writing dozens of tickets this month to those who still refuse to comply with the ban on outdoor burning. Officers from other agencies, such as the Sheriff’s Department, have also been issuing citations throughout the County.
Our recent rainfall has eased the fire danger temporarily, but our drought index remains high, and forecasts call for a return to hot and dry conditions over the next few days. The vast majority of residents are doing their part to support our firefighters and to keep our community safe during these exceptional drought conditions.
Recommendations: Now is the time to look around your property and do what you can to prevent a wildfire from reaching your home.
1. Move anything that will burn well away from structures, ( firewood, brush piles, etc )
2. Clear straw and leaf litter from your roof and away from the sides of your home
3. Cut back or preferably remove any dry or dead landscaping plants or bushes
4. Mow your yard low at least 30 to 50 feet away and water to create defensible space
5. Place garden hoses in strategic locations so that they are readily accessible
Current Burn Ban Status:
At this time Montgomery County is under a burn ban, therefore, no outdoor burning should be attempted. Residents are urged to postpone burning until conditions improve and the ban is lifted. Violation of the burn ban can result in a citation for a Class C Misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $500.
For more information please go to our website and click on “Outdoor Burning”.