Somervell County is now under a 90-day burn ban, which took effect on Jan. 26 by unanimous vote (5-0) of the Somervell County Commissioners Court.

Fire Chief Mark Crawford stated on the SCFD’s Facebook page that current drought conditions are at the point that even rainfall during this time of year may not be enough to end the ban.

“Rain episodes will do little to change conditions at this point until spring when new grass grow and take over dead grass,” Crawford wrote. “There are several examples of grass fires occurring even during a thunderstorm.”

Recent windy conditions have also contributed to the fire danger in North Texas.

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index, used by the Texas Forest Service, measures wildfire potential and is used by counties in determining when burn bans are needed.

Keetch-Byram “is based on a daily water balance, where a drought factor is balanced with precipitation and soil moisture,” according to Texas Weather Connection online. “The drought index ranges from 0 to 800, where a drought index of 0 represents no moisture depletion, and an index of 800 represents absolutely dry conditions.”

Crawford explained that, “Burn bans do not limit you from using a grill to cook food. If you have any questions or need to report illegal burning you can 911 or call the fire marshal on his cell 817-690-6163.”

The Commissioners Court or Judge Danny Chambers can decide to remove the burn ban at any time. If the burn ban needs to be extended, the commissioners can meet and vote to make that happen, Chambers noted.