Burn ban in place

A ban on outdoor burning is now in effect for Rockwall County.

A ban on outdoor burning is now in effect for Rockwall County, due to the drought conditions across the area.

The Rockwall County Commissioners Court voted Tuesday morning to institute a burn ban in the county for 90 days, or until November 24.

Rockwall is now the 149th county in Texas to have a ban in place. Kaufman County was also under a prohibition as of Tuesday morning.

Hunt County was not under a ban as of Tuesday, but county officials had indicated they were monitoring drought conditions and might put a ban in place if conditions did not improve

Much of North Texas received heavy rains Tuesday morning, as a cold front pushed through the region.

The Rockwall Community Airport reported receiving about three-quarters of an inch of rain before noon Tuesday.

Prior to the precipitation, however, portions of Rockwall, Hunt and Kaufman counties were all listed under “very high” levels of fire danger by the Texas A&M Forest Service.

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index, or KBDI, which monitors soil moisture levels and is an indicator used to determine the threat of fire danger, showed Rockwall County to be under significant drought conditions Tuesday.

A reading of “zero” under the index means the soil is saturated, while 800 is the highest reading on the index, indicating it would take eight or more inches of rainfall to bring the soil to saturation.

As of Tuesday morning, Rockwall County recorded readings of 618 to 702, with a countywide average of 607.

Kaufman county’s average was reported at 687, with Hunt County’s averaged at 677.

According to the Texas A&M University Forest Service, under a KBDI reading of between 400 and 600, “Wildfire intensity begins to increase significantly. Larger fuels could burn or smoulder for several days.”

A reading of from 600 to 800 is said to be “often associated with more severe drought with increased wildfire occurrence. Intense, deep burning fires with extreme intensities can be expected. Live fuels can also be expected to burn actively at these levels.”

As of Tuesday morning the National Weather Service forecast was calling for additional opportunities for showers and thunderstorms today, with slight chances of more rain later this week.

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