TYLER, Texas — Editor's Note: The attached video is from July 20, 2022
Despite the area seeing some rain, Smith County Fire Marshal Jay Brooks said Tuesday morning the fire danger has not decreased enough to lift the county's burn ban.
During the Smith County Commissioners Court meeting, Brooks updated county officials on the local drought conditions. He told the court Smith County hasn't seen a drought like this summer since 2011.
“The conditions outside are disastrous for us right now,” he said. “We are still under a burn ban and I don’t recommend rescinding it."
Brooks added the moisture from recent rains dried up quickly and some areas of Smith County saw no rain at all.
An update for the burn ban was added to the agenda after Pct. 3 Commissioner Terry Phillips received inquiries from people who wanted to do outside burning after last week's rain.
Brooks said that several grass fires started when those who got rain started burning again.
Several grass fires were started last week when people who did receive rain began burning, Brooks said.
The current burn ban, which went into effect July 5, runs through Oct. 3; however, commissioners could vote to lift the restriction early if conditions improve.
While rain is in the forecast this week, Brooks told the commissioners the area needs a weather pattern shift and four to six inches of rain countywide to improve conditions.
Fireworks, fire pits and other forms of outdoor burning are prohibited. Those who violate the burn ban face a Class C Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500, according to Smith County.
Those wanting more information about available assistance or anyone with questions regarding the burn ban can call the Smith County Fire Marshal’s Office at 903-590-2655.