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burn ban for montgomery county is now in place

April 11, 2011

From: Jimmy Williams-Montgomery County Fire Marshals Office

Montgomery County is currently under Moderate Fire Danger with Western areas of the County hardest hit.

Link to Fire Danger information

http://ticc.tamu.edu/PredictiveServices/FuelsFireDanger.htm

Montgomery County and Surrounding Areas

Southeast Texas is experiencing moderate to high drought conditions. Several wildfires have occurred in Montgomery County with most damage limited to vegetation and outbuildings. Larger fires have occurred in the Northern and Western portions of the State. Although Montgomery County has not reached the same conditions as those areas, forecast conditions call for elevated fire danger to continue throughout the coming days.

Currently Montgomery County is experiencing moderate fire danger with our average Keetch-Byram Drought index near 600. The current KBDI value by itself, would not normally warrant implementation of a ban, however other factors that contribute to the level of fire danger need to be taken into account during this extended dry spell.

Natural green-up of Spring grasses has led to a decreased fire danger in open fields, an area of concern over the past few months. A prolonged lack of significant rainfall however, has led to decreased levels of moisture in heavier fuels commonly found in wooded areas. These low levels of moisture found in fuels such as fallen limbs, trees and accumulated debris on the forest floor, has made those materials much more susceptible to fire than normal. A major area of concern is a class of fuels classified as 100 hr fuels.

The 100 hour fuel moisture value most closely represents conditions found in fallen limbs and brush in the 1 to 3 inch diameter, and can also be used as a rough estimate of the average moisture content in the top 4 inches of the forest floor, which is mostly made up of decaying wood and vegetation. During normal conditions these fuels are difficult to ignite, but during our extended drought, they are not only more likely to ignite, they have the potential to release much higher levels of energy due to their low moisture content.

100 Hour Fuel Moisture Content Potential for High Energy Release

(1-3” diameter limbs, top 4” forest floor) (Good reflection of current drought conditions)

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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.

Montgomery County has seen some damage to structures from recent wildfires, mostly outbuildings so far.  Citations are pending in several recent cases. Most recent citations have been issued for burning household garbage, with some cited for reckless damage to property as well. Both violations are also Class C Misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $500.  

For more information please go to our website and click on “Outdoor Burning”.

http://mctx.org/fire/

Jimmy Williams

Fire Marshal

Montgomery County

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