Parker County judge cites dangerous conditions in edict
Dangerous conditions increasing the likelihood of a major wildfire prompted Parker County Judge Mark Riley to issue an emergency extension of the previous 30-day ban on outdoor burning Aug. 8.
“Conditions remain favorable for wildfires,” a press release from the judge’s office said.
The ban restricts all outdoor burning.
Any signs of fire including flames and smoke should be reported immediately.
The release went on to say that weather forecasts indicate a chance for rainstorms in the area over the next few days, but county officials do not believe this will be enough to mitigate the current level of wildfire risks.
The Commissioners Court could lift the burn ban at its’ Monday, August 13th regular meeting the region does receive an appropriate amount of rain, or if it doesn’t, the court could also extend the burn ban for an additional 30 days.
Violation of the burn ban is a Class C Misdemeanor and could result in a fine of up to $500 plus court costs.
Violations include the use of combustible materials, including outdoor welding.
Where welding must be performed in the field, the following precautions are required while the county remains under a ban:
• All areas where welding, cutting or grinding operations are being performed will be free of vegetation for at least twenty five feet in all directions;
• Surface around welding area will be watered down;
• Wind speeds must be no more than 20 miles per hour while performing welding, cutting or grinding operations outside of barriers or enclosures;
• A dedicated fire watch person will attend each welder, cutter, grinder and any activity that causes a spark;
• A minimum of one (1) water pressure fire extinguisher per fire watch person is required;
• Each site will have cellular telephone communications for emergency response;
• All welding, cutting and grinding operations may be performed in a total welding enclosure, or “welding box”, that is sufficiently high to control sparks and includes a fire retardant cover over the top. Winds speeds must not exceed 30 miles per hour while utilizing an enclosure;
• Where welding (above ground and sub-surface) is required in an area where there is a potential for a hazardous atmosphere, barriers will be substituted for total enclosures (e.g. “wind walls”) to prevent sparks from coming in contact with any combustible material;
• The barriers will be installed to allow ventilation of the work area and ingress and egress to the work area for personnel safety;
• Sub-surface, or “bell hole”, welding and grinding operations within approved excavations are allowed if all other mitigation efforts are included.