David Morgan, emergency management coordinator for the county, made the recommendation to ban selective aerial fireworks because of the drought.
“This has to be done prior to the 15th of June if the court wishes to ban the restricted fireworks,” Morgan said.
This ban, which the court approved Monday during the meeting, applies to all fireworks with sticks or tails that are designed to be shot into the air.
“This does not ban commercial type fireworks such as the exploding, cascading type,” he said. “I do believe the fuel moisture levels are low enough that we don’t need people shooting bottle rockets out into the pasture.
“I think this ban should be instituted.”
Burn ban pending
Commissioners delayed implementing a burn ban for at least two weeks.
“The Keetch-Byram Drought Index is not bad,” Morgan said. “There are a few spots in the county that are at the 600 mark.
“The fuel moisture levels are continuing to dry.”
A storm Thursday night brought much needed rain to the area but not enough to break the drought.
Most said they found about seven-tenths in their gauges while some, including those in the Skidmore area, received about 1.5 inches.
The Keetch-Byram Drought Index relates to the flammability of organic material in the ground. The higher the number, the more likely a small fire will spread.
This rain last week helped green some of the area but that too is burning in the hot sun.
Community dictates court action
“I don’t know if it is absolutely critical at this time to institute the burn ban,” Morgan said.
“We have had really good response from our citizens after the ban was lifted this last time.
“There have been very few reports of fires out of control.
“I don’t think it is absolutely necessary that we institute the burn ban at this time.”
Commissioner Ken Haggard reminded that the actions of the community often dictate what the court does.
“The better the community reacts to this, the less we have to do,” he said.
County Judge David Silva reminded that with no rain in the forecast for the next week, the drought conditions are only going to worsen.
“We are still considered to be in severe drought but it is not as severe as it has been,” Morgan said.
Commissioner Dennis DeWitt added that anyone lighting any fire outside should contact the sheriff’s office beforehand.
• Approved depositing right of way permit fees into the Road and Bridge operating fund.
• Approved the city’s use of the Bee County Expo Center grounds for the Fourth of July celebration. The county will also be listed as a sponsor of the event.
• Approved a speed limit of 30 mph on County Road 6002.
• Appointed Haggard to the Life and Health Care Committee, replacing Eloy Rodriguez who resigned.
• Approved Sarah Longoria as the new transportation director for the Bee Community Action Agency during the May 30 meeting.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.