PRESS RELEASE FROM THE FIRE MARSHALS OFFICE
Montgomery County Commissioners Court issue Disaster Declaration. Montgomery County Fire Marshal issues additional safety information as major fires destroy homes and thousands of acres across Southeast Texas.
Conroe, Tx May June 20, 2011
Most of Montgomery County is currently classified as”very high fire danger” due to the ongoing record drought. The area has not seen a soaking rainfall since October 2010. Currently two large fires are burning in surrounding Counties, stretching all available resources in our area. These fires have destroyed homes, but many more homes have been saved by firefighters and forestry officials.
In response to the growing wildfire danger, Montgomery County Commissioner’s Court approved a Local Disaster Declaration issued by County Judge Alan B. Sadler. The disaster declaration, issued under Chapter 418 of the Texas Government Code, effectively prohibits all sales and use of consumer fireworks in Montgomery County.
The Montgomery County Fire Marshal’s Office began meeting with members of the local fireworks industry in May, as the drought persisted throughout the area. Representatives from the Montgomery County fireworks industry worked with the MCFMO to present a set of recommendations to Commissioner’s Court to help reduce the risk of wildfire. These recommendations included either limiting the sales season, should the KBDI index reach 700, or eliminating sales and use of consumer fireworks altogether should the Drought index reach 750.
Montgomery County now registers 755 on the Keetch Byram Drought Index, therefore today’s action will prohibit the sales and use of consumer fireworks unless there is substantial relief from our current drought situation.
A final decision has not been made on whether professional fireworks displays will proceed as planned at this time. Today’s decision was timed to provide the public and fireworks industry with sufficient notice, as the fireworks sales season was set to open as early as this Friday.
These actions only address part of the current fire problems. For more information and daily updates please sign up on our facebook page.
Additional information is available on our website as well. www.mctx.org/fire
Link to Fire Danger information
The MCFMO will be sending out daily updates on our Facebook page as well as through media releases.
Residents are urged to curtail any outdoor activity that could start a wildfire;
1. Use a LPG grill for outdoor cooking, do not use charcoal or wood burning pits as the hot coals can easily ignite dry grass for hours and days after use.
2. Do not weld, cut or grind metal within 25 feet of anything that will burn
3. Do not discard cigarettes out the window
4. Maintain mechanical equipment used in agriculture and trailers used on the roadway. One of the largest fires in East Texas started from an axle problem on a trailer that overheated and started a roadside fire.
Video of Monday morning Commissioners Court. Fire Marshal Jimmy Williams explains reason for firework ban as Commissioners approve it.