Yes, Brown County, there is a burn ban in effect.
Though not as strict as the bans for the last couple of Decembers, when fireworks and occupational jobs such as welding were strictly prohibited, Brown County Commissioners said Monday the current ban will continue until further notice.
According to the court’s agenda Brown County Fire Marshal Onie Carroll was to discuss and “clarify” the ban sanctions. Carroll did not attend the meeting, but Brown County Sheriff Bobby Grubbs repeated that consistent protocol needed to be followed for any controlled burning in the county.
Grubbs said that the burning of brush piles is allowed if necessary, but the person requesting the burn must contact the county commissioner for the precinct where the fire will burn.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Steve Adams, reached by phone after the meeting, said, “The first contact is the county commissioner. They will need to state the time and location of where and what they’re going to burn, and there’s a form that has to be filled out with that information.”
The form is signed by the person making the request, and the commissioner, and faxed to the county dispatch office. That way, if someone sees the smoke and calls to report the fire, dispatch will know if it’s a random fire.
Anyone planning a burn, needs to observe safety precautions, such as clearing the area around the brush pile to be burned, having a source of water or basic fire extinguishing materials available and a plan to cancel the burn if weather conditions are windy, Adams said.
“I go by and look at the pile, sometimes even the morning of the burn, that way we’re not guessing what the weather’s going to be like,” he said. “Nobody wants a fire to get out of control. It just makes sense to check things and, if necessary, wait for a less windy day.”
The official language of the ban states “no person in … Brown County may maintain an open fire except in an appropriate container for the burning of trash or cooking food.”
To be in compliance, county residents are asked to use barrels or approved containers for burning trash and pits, cookers or smokers for cooking.
The burning of tires, old paint cans, aerosol spray cans, PVC pipes and plastics and other hazardous materials are strictly prohibited under all circumstances.
“We’ve had situations this year, where maybe there will be a tire in a pile of brush and we don’t see it when we go out to check,” Adams said. “It doesn’t matter. It’s illegal to burn that stuff.”
In other business matters commissioners:
Approved the purchase of a restraint chair for the sheriff’s office. Grubbs said the restraints are necessary for violent or out-of-control prisoners. The county, Grubbs said, has a restraint bed, but if a prisoner is under the influence, restrained and made to lie on his back there is a risk of aspiration and strangulation. A chair is safer for such situations, Grubbs said.
The cost of the chair is estimated to be $1,500 and the funds will come from the jail phone service account.
Approved the sheriff’s office purchase of software for a specialized investigation program. The approximately $9,150 purchase will be reimbursed with money from a grant awarded through the state attorney general. Approved the sheriff’s office’s application to the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program which makes state and federal money available to offset the costs of incarcerating illegal aliens in county jails. Approved a one-year contract with TXU-Energy for the county’s electrical service pending the review of the contract by Brown County Judge Ray West.