Burn ban lifted
Cooler temps, higher humidity help ease parched conditions
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Feb. 23, 2006 -- Acting on standing authorization from Hopkins County Commissioners Court, Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap on Wednesday lifted the burn ban that has been in effect in the county for more than six months.

The action, which became effective at midnight Wednesday, was in response to cooler temperatures, higher humidities and a slight amount of rainfall that has been experienced in the area since the commissioners authorized the ban to continue in mid-February.

Millsap made the decision to lift the ban late Wednesday evening and said  he felt the small amount of moisture and the way it has fallen has somewhat relieved the critical situation.

"Residents in unincorporated areas can once again legally burn trash and other items," Millsap said, but cautioned, "There is still a danger of wildfires if things get out of hand."

The ban on outdoor burning was put into effect in July. In early January, county commissioners put more teeth into the ban with the implementation of a "zero tolerance" policy to enforce the ban.

In Hopkins County, the total rainfall received last year was about half the normal amount. So far this year, 4.8 inches of rain has fallen, compared to a normal 5.54 for the first two months.

Rainfall earlier this week was measured in hundredths of an inch but was helped by cooler than normal temperatures and overcast skies to reduce evaporation rates.

Although the county has relaxed the prohibition on outdoor burning, the judge indicated he would not hesitate to reinstate the burn ban if dry, dangerous conditions return to the area.

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