The countywide burn ban has been lifted, much to the relief of many Wichita County citizens. The county commissioners voted on Monday following recommendations from local volunteer fire departments to lift the ban. Commissioner Barry Mahler noted that conditions are still potentially dangerous, and citizens should exercise extreme caution when burning. The Emergency Management Coordinator, Lee Bourgoin, stated that the ban could be reinstituted if environmental conditions worsen. In addition, the county judge also has the authority to reinstitute the ban in an emergency situation. Citizens should note that the burn ban has only been lifted in unincorporated areas in the county. Individual towns and cities will have their own ordinances. Outdoor burning is currently prohibited in the city of Wichita Falls.
Although the burn ban has been lifted, ranchers should exercise extra caution when deciding to burn. Citizens are encouraged to keep a close watch on weather and environmental conditions prior to burning. Typical North Texas climate conditions can be dangerous when conducting a prescribed burn. Citizens are reminded that burning is especially dangerous with high winds and low humidity.
Landowners can be held responsible for damages and injuries caused by prescribed burns that get out of hand. It is not uncommon for landowners and ranchers to unintentionally burn down neighboring properties if they conduct prescribed burns without a proper plan and knowledge of weather conditions.