|Trinity Standard - Local News
Copyright 2011 - Polk County Publishing Company
County reluctantly lifts burn ban
Trinity Standard -
GROVETON – In a split 3-2 vote Monday, the Trinity County Commissioners Court reluctantly lifted a ban on outdoor burning that has been in place since March 21. The vote to lift the ban was in anticipation of rainfall expected to fall this week and officials were warning those who plan burn trash, leaves, limbs and other debris to be extremely careful. They caution those who burn to keep watch over their fires and to have adequate sources of water ready to prevent them from getting out of control. Monday’s action by the commissioners only affects the unincorporated areas of the county. The cities of Trinity and Groveton have separate burn bans in place. On Monday, Trinity officials said their ban will remain in place for the time being. Mayor Lyle Stubbs indicated that depending on the amount of rainfall the area might receive this week, he will consider briefly lifting the ban. Monday’s vote to end the almost seven-month long ban on outdoor burning – the longest in memory – was divided with Pct. 1 Commissioner Grover “Tiger” Worsham, Pct. 2 Commissioner Rich Chamberlin and Pct. 3 Commissioner Cecil Webb voting to allow burning to resume. County Judge Doug Page and Pct. 4 Commissioner Jimmy Brown wanted to keep the ban in place until more rain fallen over a wide area of the county. Page noted that information from the Texas Forest Service indicates the danger of wildfire is still high due to the year-long drought now plaguing the state. “I’m afraid that when we lift it, there will be people out there who will be careless. I’d like to see more rain before we end the ban,” he said. The judge suggested commissioners wait until Friday to see how much rain the county receives this week and then consider lifting the ban. Under that plan, notice of the meeting would have been posted by Tuesday morning to provide the 72 hours of notice to the public that is required by state law. Worsham said he was afraid that if they waited until the end of the week, it might be too late to take advantage of the rains forecast for the area on Tuesday. He noted that he was reluctant to end the burn ban but due to the extended amount of time it has been in place, he felt county residents needed a chance to take care of accumulating debris. “It could very well be that we will have to reinstate the ban the next time we meet, but for right now, I’m in favor of lifting it,” he said. The next scheduled meeting of the commissioners is Monday, Nov. 28, but a special meeting can be called with 72 hours notice. Throughout the summer, Trinity County was plagued with wildfires, including the so-called Bearing Fire which destroyed over 23,000 acres in June and the Truck Flip Fire, which burned almost 1,000 acres in September. In both those fires, outdoor burning was not involved. The Bearing Fire was ignited when overheated wheel bearings on a trailer came in contact with roadside grass. The Truck Flip Fire was caused when a log truck went out of control, flipped over and caught fire.