County commissioners imposed a 90-day burn ban in the rural and unincorporated areas around Jim Wells County Monday.
The burn ban prohibited all burning and controlled burns in the county, according to Jim Wells County judge Juan Rodriguez.
Upon the recommendation of the Jim Wells County Office of Emergency Management, the Commissioners Court approved the ban effective immediately. Rodriguez said the decision was based on consultation with the Texas A&M Forest Service Predictive Services department, it was determined that drought conditions are present throughout Jim Wells County and that much of the grasses — fuel for destructive fires — that are present from spring rains are drying out at a rapid rate. Also, long term weather forecasts are calling for continued above-normal temperatures and below-normal rainfall.
“It’s dry around the county, and the thing about it is that there is no relief in sight,” Rodriguez said. “The grass, everything out there, is so brittle. The burn ban helps us prevent a situation around these disastrous circumstances.”
According to the National Integrated Drought Information System, Jim Wells County is drier than normal.
The website closely monitors drought conditions around the state, and it updates its findings weekly. It classifies area from D0, which is abnormally dry, to D4 which is in an exceptional drought.
As of July 30, most of Jim Wells County was classified as D1, which is moderate drought. The classification is for areas with some damage to crops and pastures, some water shortages developing and voluntary water-use restrictions requested.
According to the website, only about 4-percent of the state is classified as D1. Only the area around Laredo and Webb County is deemed D2 or in a severe drought.