County adopts ‘zero tolerance’ on burn ban violations
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Jan. 6, 2006 -- With the danger of wildfire increasing day by day, Hopkins County Commissioners Court extended an executive order prohibiting all outdoor burning and agreed to a "zero tolerance" policy for all violations of the order.

"Zero tolerance means we are going to have to write citations," Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap said Friday morning after the action was taken. "We are using all law enforcement personnel and the public has been cooperating, and we are asking the public to continue to work with law enforcement and with our fire departments and not burn anything until such time as we get some relief."

The county has so far managed to avoid the severe grass and brush fires that have burned thousands of acres of grass land and destroyed entire communities in Texas.

Enforcement of the "zero tolerance" is an effort to minimize dangers of wildfires in the county.

The executive order specifically states the use of combustible materials in an outdoor environment by any person is prohibited. Combustible materials include but are not limited to the use of all fireworks, materials used in activities such as welding and any other activity that could result in a fire.

Violation of the order is a Class C Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500.

The Texas Forest Service has staged additional resources in the area to respond to any fires in the area, according to Millsap.

All fire departments in the county, along with the sheriff's office and county constables will be investigating all reports of burns, and "citations will be written for all violations," according to this morning's orders.

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