Harris County Commissioners Court Approves Burn Ban

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Harris County Commissioners Court Approves Burn Ban

Harris County, Texas –Today, Harris County Commissioners Court enacted a burn ban due to an increased threat of wildfires across Un-Incorporated Harris County. There are now 171 Texas counties with burn bans, including Harris, Galveston, Waller, Fort Bend, Brazoria and Liberty counties.

“Unprecedented temperatures and a lack of rain has elevated KBDI levels for this time of the year” said Fire Marshal Laurie L. Christensen. “Although we have seen some rain, it’s not enough to lower the drought index levels across the county. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security with rain in parts of Harris County – the vegetation fuels are high due to drought conditions in not only open areas but, residential properties and roadways adjacent to grass and brush.”

This burn ban will not impact the sale of fireworks this Fourth of July season as it did not meet the legislative criteria for implementation based on the KBDI numbers on June 15, 2022. We strongly encourage all residents to attend professional fireworks displays. If you choose to use consumer fireworks, please read the cautionary labels, have a water source near in case of emergencies, and soak used fireworks before disposing them in the trash.

No outdoor burning is allowed except: in an enclosure that contains all flames and/or sparks; outdoor burning activities authorized by TCEQ; approved ceremonial fires; non-commercial cooking such as backyard cookouts and barbeques are allowed; and welding and other “hot work” performed in accordance with county fire code requirements.

Violation of the ban is a Class “C” misdemeanor, punishable for up to a $500 fine. In addition, any person who starts a fire that causes damage to property without the consent of the owner may be charged with Reckless Damage or Destruction, a Class C misdemeanor, or Arson, a felony.

Key Points:

  • There is a burn ban in effect for all areas of unincorporated Harris County.
  • No outdoor burning is allowed except in an enclosure which contains all flames and/or sparks, outdoor burning activities authorized by TCEQ, approved ceremonial fires, non-commercial cooking, such as backyard cook-outs barbeques are also allowed in approved containers, as is welding and other “hot work” performed in accordance with county fire code requirements.
  • Burning in violation of the court order is a Class “C” misdemeanor, punishable for up to a $500 fine. Any peace officer can issue a citation for violation of Section 352.081 of the Local Government Code. You are responsible for any damage caused by a fire you start.
  • Use extreme caution when cooking outdoors. A small spark or burning ember can ignite dry vegetation. Winds will fan the flames and spread the fire rapidly.
  • Remove combustibles within 30 feet of any controlled fire or hot work. A small, controlled fire can easily spread quickly and become an out-of-control, dangerous fire.
  • If you see an unattended fire, call 9-1-1 and notify your local fire department immediately. Even a small fire can spread quickly and threaten people and houses.

The mission of the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office is to safeguard the lives and property of the residents in Harris County through effective fire prevention, fire investigation, education, emergency response, and emergency management.

Best regards,

Sent by Sharon Roberson, EHCMA, on behalf of:
Blake White