Breckenridge Texan

Burn ban continues as parts of county under high risk for fire

Burn ban continues as parts of county under high risk for fire
December 11
12:03 2017

Stephens County Commissioners voted at this morning’s meeting to continue the fire ban for the county, which is under a “moderate” wildfire forecast by the Texas A&M Forest Service.

Additionally, the Forest Service’s Texas Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal shows most of Stephens County to be under a moderate to high risk for wildfire with some areas – especially in the eastern part of the county – falling into the high to very high risk category.

Breckenridge Fire Chief Calvin Chaney said his advice for local residents is “don’t burn anything. That’s just the safest thing. It does not take an open flame. It takes a spark right now, an ember…and we’re gone, we’re busy.”

U.S. Highway 180 between Palo Pinto and Mineral Wells was shut down Sunday night as firefighters in Palo Pinto County battled a wildfire there. According to the Forest Service’s Fire Activity Map, 36 acres were burned and the fire is 100 percent contained now.

Additionally, a fire in Callahan County, just south of Clyde, on Saturday morning burned 36 acres and is also 100 percent contained.

“Right now, we’re having a lot of people that are doing unauthorized burning; that’s a no-no,” Chaney said. “The burn ban is on; that’s city-wide, that’s county-wide. You can’t burn inside the city limits, period. That’s state law. But, we’re having people burning trash, open fires, that kind of deal, and right now we’re in a critically dry atmosphere. And we’re just not in a time when they need to be burning.”

The Breckenridge Fire Department fought several fires over the weekend. “We’ve had fires from Friday till Sunday,” Chaney said. “We’ve had grassfires; we’ve had a structure fire. (The structure fire) was an electric short, but the grassfires have been by open fires and then other one’s suspicious.”

Also in their meeting today, Monday, Dec. 11, commissioners voted to advertise for sealed bids for the purchase of crushed rock and road materials for the year 2018, and they approved a services agreement with County Information Resources Agency for website management of the county’s website for the 2018.

They also approved a map endorsement agreement between Liberty Marketing Company and Stephens County. County Judge Gary Fuller said that under the agreement, the county endorses the company that creates and prints Stephens County maps and sells advertising on those maps with the county’s endorsement. He said there is no costs to the county and the company produces 2,000 maps each year that are given to the county and the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce to be given away.

In other business, commissioners approved CNA Surety Bonds for Deputy Tax Assessor/Collector Crystal Shook and Deputy District Clerk Brenda Mahan. They also accepted filings for Western Surety Company bonds for Stephens County Tax Assessor/Collector Christie Latham and Stephens County Judge Gary Fuller. Additionally, they acknowledged and filed certificates of attendance awards for 6.5 hours of continued education for Stephens County Commissioner Precinct 1 Ed Russell at the 2017 Rolling Plains County Judges and Commissioners Conference and for 5 hours of continued education at the West Central District 7 County Judges and Commissioners Conference.

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline, top photo: commissioners court secretary Danielle Anderson, right, takes notes as Breckenridge Fire Chief Calvin Chaney addresses the commissioners Monday morning. The Stephens County Commissioners voted to continue the burn ban for the county, which is under a moderate to high risk for wildfire. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

(Courtesy of the Texas A&M Forest Service)

(Courtesy of the National Weather Service)

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