At the request of the commissioner’s court of a county, the Texas Forest Service shall determine whether drought conditions exist in all or part of the County. The Texas Forest Service shall make available the measurement index guidelines that determine whether a particular area is in drought condition.
Following a determination that drought conditions exist, the Texas Forest Service shall notify the county when drought conditions no longer exist. The Texas Forest Service uses the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, or when that index is not available, use of a comparable measurement that takes into consideration the burning index, spread component, or ignition component for the area.
Deciding to Instate or Lift a Burn Ban
If drought conditions have been determined to exist that create a public safety hazard that would be exacerbated by outdoor burning, then the commissioners court can order a specified period during which outdoor burning is prohibited or restricted. This period may extend beyond the 90th day after the date the order is adopted, but a Commissioners Court may adopt an order that takes effect on the expiration of a previous order. The order then expires if a determination is made that drought conditions no longer exist; or a determination is made by the Commissioners Court that the circumstance no longer exist. The Commissioners Court in Navarro County also relies on input from the Navarro County Office of Emergency Management and County Volunteer Fire Association when making this determination to instate a burn ban and/or lift a burn ban.
When a burn ban is in effect, the following are conditions when outdoor burning is acceptable.
Burning is related to public health and safety as authorized by the Texas Environmental Quality Commission.
o Firefighter training
o Household trash
o Public utility, natural gas pipeline or mining operations
o Planting or harvesting of agriculture crops.
o Burns conducted by a prescribed burn manager
Burning Household Trash
Household Trash can be burnt if:
· Trash is in a metal barrel or drum with wire mesh over the top to resist flying embers (1/4 inch X 1/4 inch opening in the wire is recommended).
· Burning in a pit in the ground as long as the trash does not extend above ground level and this pit is also covered with a wire mesh cover.
· You must remain present at the burn site while burning trash with necessary tools to extinguish the fire if needed.
Burning for agriculture purpose crops and land clearing must be done under the direction of a burn manager. The property owner must file a burn plan with the Navarro County Office of Emergency Management a few days prior to the planned date of burning.
The only time permitting for outdoor burning is required for the above exceptions is when a Declaration of a Disaster has been declared by the Commissioners Court or the Governor of the State of Texas. See prescribed burn permit below.
Outdoor Burning Resources
“The TCEQ Outdoor Burning Rule first prohibits outdoor burning anywhere in Texas, and then allows exceptions for specific situations in which burning is necessary or does not pose a threat to the environment. The rule also prescribes conditions that must be met to protect the environment and avoid other adverse impacts when burning is allowed.” Outdoor Burning in Texas (RG-049), TCEQ, 2008.
Do’s and Don’ts for Outdoor Burning at Your Residence: Answers to Some Burning Questions:
Brochure with Do’s and Don’ts to remember for burning trash or land-clearing debris.
Contains guidance for interepreting the TCEQ Outdoor Burning Rule along with an appendix containing the TCEQ Outdoor Burning Rule.