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Van Zandt County enacts burn ban

Unless the restrictions are terminated before the end of the 90 days, the burn ban will expire on Sept. 20.

VAN ZANDT COUNTY, Texas — Editor's Note: Video above is not related to article.

Van Zandt County has enacted a burn ban against outdoor burning of any kind effective today.

County Judge Don Kirkpatrick submitted an order prohibiting outdoor burning that could create a public hazard. The burn ban will stay in effect in "the unincorporated areas of the county for 90 days" from the day the order was adopted, according to the document. 

Unless the restrictions are terminated before the end of the 90 days, the burn ban will expire on Sept. 20. Additionally, the burn ban can be extended by the Commissioners Court of Anderson County if they deem it necessary.

The document contains the following information regarding the burn ban's restrictions.

The burning of combustible materials in an outdoor environment by any person prohibited. Combustible materials include:

  • Discarded cigarettes
  • Natural vegetation such as grass, leaves, and trees
  • Materials used outdoors in activities such as welding and any other activity the could result in a fire

Residential burning of household waste is permitted when contained in a metal barrel covered with a minimum one inch screen. Barrels must be placed in a an area clear of grass and debris.

Welding is allowed by commercial/professional welders under the following guidelines ONLY: A spotter is required for welder, cutter, grinder, and for any activity that causes or may cause a spark.

All grass, leaves, brush and other easily combustible materials must be cleared within a minimum 25 foot radius surrounding the area where the activity is to take place before any welding, cutting, or grinding begins. The welding perimeter must be three times the height of the actual welding. Example: if the welding is occurring 10 feet off the ground, a perimeter of 30 feet must be protected. If the perimeter cannot be cleared of vegetation, proper precautionary measures must be taken.

A minimum of 100  gallons of water must be available on site. A minimum of one water pressure fire extinguisher per spotter is required.

Welding in an enclosed area or underground is acceptable.

No welding is permitted if winds are 10mph or greater or relative humidity is less than 30%.

Any welder or company conducting welding operations must, prior to activities, file with Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office proof of effective liability insurance or be bond in an amount of at least $300,000.

Prior to ANY welding activity, a phone call shall be placed by the welder or company conduction welding operations to the Van Zandt County Sheriff's department (903)567-4133 and the local fire department relaying the location of the project, cell phone for contact person, name of party responsible, and name of welder.

The document further states that the burn ban does not prohibit outdoor burning activities that are related to public health and safety that are authorized by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. These activities include:

  • Firefighter training
  • Public utility operations
  • Natural gas pipeline operations
  • Mining operations
  • Planting or harvesting of agricultural crops
  • Burns that are conducted by a prescribed burn manager

Agricultural burning is allowed under the following guidelines ONLY:

All grass, leaves, brush and other easily combustible materials must be cleared within a minimum 25 foot radius surrounding the area where the activity is to take place before any agricultural burning begins. If the perimeter cannot be cleared of vegetation, proper precautionary measures must be taken.

Prior to ANY agricultural burning, a phone call shall be placed by the property owner to the Van Zandt County Sheriff's department (903)567-4133 and the local fire department relaying the location of the project, cell phone for contact person, name of party responsible, and name of party responsible.

Professional public firework displays ONLY:

All professional firework displays may be operated with an approved site plan and review done by the Van Zandt County Fire Marshal and appropriate fee paid. The professional firework contractor shall remit fee to cover the cost associated with the Van Zandt County Fire Marshal or his designee to be scene during the event. These costs shall be made to the County Clerk's Office of Van Zandt County. The professional firework display must proof of liability insurance and have made contact with the local fire department to provide on-site coverage during the event.

Those who violate the burn ban can be fined upwards of $500 and be charged with a Class C misdemeanor.

RELATED: Cherokee County issues a burn ban that will be re-authorized every seven days

RELATED: East Texas starts summer with three county-wide burn bans

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