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Burn Ban’s Back for Unincorporated Comal County as Fire Marshal Warns of ‘Interesting’ Months Ahead

A burn ban is in effect for unincorporated Comal County. It arrives just in time for a fire-weather watch, issued for portions of the Hill Country from noon to 7 p.m. on Friday. Some expansion in the risk area is possible as a dryline will move eastward through the day.

Comal County commissioners voted to reinstate the burn ban at their meeting today.

It goes into effect at 6 a.m. Friday, April 9 for unincorporated areas of the county. The Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) reached 509 today. Burn bans are implemented any time the KBDI exceeds 500 points.

“We could be in for a very interesting spring and summer,” Fire Marshal Kory Klabunde warned Commissioners Court. The long-term weather outlook calls for a hot, dry spring and summer.

Under the burn ban, barbecue pits that are off the ground and have a lid to contain all sparks and flames are allowed for cooking purposes only.

No brush fires, campfires, burn barrels, fire pits (rings), chimineas or other open flames are allowed.

The public is urged to be very careful when using barbecue pits or performing “hot work” outside including welding, cutting metal and grinding. For more information, call 830-643-3748.

The National Weather Service Austin/San Antonio said critical fire weather conditions exist from noon to 7 p.m. Friday for portions of the Hill Country, Rio Grande Plains and Southern Edwards Plateau.

A fire-weather watch has been issued. The watch alerts land managers and the public that upcoming weather conditions could result in extensive wildland fire occurrence or extreme fire behavior. The next step up is a red-flag warning, which the NWS issues in conjunction with land-management agencies to alert people to an ongoing or expected critical-fire-weather pattern.

Some expansion in the risk area is possible as a dryline will move eastward through the day.

Fire weather safety tips include:

  • Do not throw cigarette butts out of car windows.
  • Be careful not to drag trailer chains that could cause sparks.
  • Do not park a recently driven car on dry gass.
  • Avoid outdoor burning and check recently burned piles for flare-ups.
  • Clear out dead vegetation from around your home.

About the KBDI

The KBDI is continuous reference scale for estimating the dryness of the soil and duff layers. The index increases for each day without rain (the amount of increase depends on the daily high temperature) and decreases when it rains. The scale ranges from 0 (no moisture deficit) to 800.

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