The return of cooler temperatures, lower humidity levels, and lack of recent rainfall has many residents taking to the outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather we are experiencing. While there can be no argument that recent weather conditions are near perfect for working outside and enjoying the outdoors, they are also ideal conditions in which wildfires can start and quickly spread.
Montgomery County Fire Departments have seen an increase in the number of outside fires over the past few days, several of which have damaged outbuildings or houses. Coupled with humidity levels as low as 15 or 20% and a lack of recent rainfall, Montgomery County is rapidly approaching moderate to severe drought conditions. The average KBDI ( Keetch Byram Drought Index ) for our area today is 572, just below the level ( 575 ) that is normally considered to be a moderate drought. Some areas of the County are much drier, with levels as high as 700 in Northwest Montgomery County. 700 KBDI is considered to be an indicator of extreme drought conditions.
In the coming weeks, many residents will be tempted to take advantage of milder temperatures and burn outdoors. Under State Law businesses are not allowed to burn at all, and most other burning is prohibited by either State Law or Air Quality Regulations. Residential garbage may not be burned in or around subdivisions or on property less than 5 acres. For more information about outdoor burning, please go to our website www.mctx.org/fire and click on outdoor burning.
Residents are encouraged to refrain from any burning until conditions improve. Until the area receives sufficient rainfall and humidity levels increase, any attempted outdoor burning could lead to a wildfire. Penalties for illegal burning of garbage include a fine up to $500, in addition to any civil or criminal liability for injuries and damage from a wildfire.