Nueces County is in the middle of a dry spell and now county officials have banned burning activities in the unincorporated areas of the region.

County commissioners last week unanimously approved a court order banning outdoor burning activities, such as trash and brush burning, for the next 90 days.

Tyner Little, executive assistant to the county judge, told the court at a Nov. 14 meeting that he received a call from the Texas Forest Service Nov. 8 about the current conditions in the county.

"They said things were getting really dry, especially in the western part of the county," Little said.

County Judge Loyd Neal said despite the more than 40 inches of rain that fell from June to August this year, the lack of rainfall in the past few weeks has created drought-like conditions.

"We had a lot of rain and thought we'd be better off this time, but things have changed very quickly and we're back to the burn ban," Neal said.

The ban effectively prohibits outdoor burning activities, such as bonfires and trash and brush burning, in areas of the county outside any city limits.

"People that normally burn their trash can't burn it," said emergency management coordinator Bill Roberts. "They need to make some kind of arrangements to make sure they're healthy. They need to haul it off or get somebody to haul it off."

Roberts added that cities would need to pass their own ordinances to ban outdoor burning activities. Currently, the cities of Robstown and Corpus Christi prohibit the burning of trash and brush within the city limits.

Banquete and Petronila, however, fall under the jurisdiction of the county's burn ban, county officials said.

The court order "does not prohibit burning activities related to public health and safety that are authorized by the Texas Natural Resources Commission for firefighter training; public utility, natural gas pipeline or mining operations; or planting or harvesting of agricultural crops, or burns that are conducted by a prescribed burn manager."

If an individual is found to be non-compliant with the county's burn ban, he or she will be subject to a fine of up to $500 and may be required to perform community service.