Breckenridge Texan

Commissioners continue burn ban as dry conditions persist in county

Commissioners continue burn ban as dry conditions persist in county
November 28
07:29 2017

With dry conditions continuing to plague the area, Stephens County Commissioners voted to continue the county-wide burn ban during their meeting on Monday. They also voted to restrict certain fireworks during the upcoming New Year’s holiday.

In an interview following the meeting, Breckenridge Fire Chief Calvin Cheney said his department responded to several grass fires over the weekend. He said temperatures are supposed to be in the 70s this week and that will continue to maintain the dry conditions in the county or make them worse.

“Everything is crunchy dry; it’s beyond just regular dry. That’s why we say no burning,” he said. “We’ve had fires start from bonfires, people shooting tracer rounds out into the pasture. It doesn’t take a match; it just takes a spark or ember to start a wildfire.”

Cheney said that because of the conditions, they are not letting anybody burn anything at this time — even if they call in. “It’s just too dangerous for any outside burning whatsoever,” he said.  

Commissioners also voted to prohibit the sale or use of restricted fireworks in the unincorporated areas of Stephens County during the upcoming New Year’s holiday when fireworks go on sale.  According to County Judge Gary Fuller, restricted fireworks are described as skyrockets with sticks and missiles with fins.

“They can’t go out on a county road, pull over on the side of the road and shoot off a bunch of bottle rockets,” Fuller said. “We have always banned it on county roads and right-of-ways. We can’t ban it in the county, out on people’s private property. If it’s on their own property, we can’t do anything about what they shoot.”

Cheney said it’s illegal to shoot any kind of fireworks anywhere within the Breckenridge city limits, as well as on county,  public or state roads, including the lake roads. He said anybody caught discharging fireworks illegally is subject to a fine.

“The only property you can legally shoot fireworks on, when it’s legal to shoot fireworks, is your own property that’s outside the city limits,” he said.  “That’s the only way it’s legal.”

In other business, commissioners approved a road crossing for the installation of a 2-inch poly pipe by the Stephens Regional Special Utility District across County Road 321 in Precinct 4.

“They’re going to cut it with a ditching machine, it won’t hurt the road and it will help the people out there get more water,” Precinct 4 Commissioner Rickie Carr said.

Additionally commissioners approved 2018 Joint Primary Election Service Contract authorized under Texas Election Code 172.126 which the county signs each year with the county’s political parties to conduct a joint general primary election or runoff primary election

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

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