The unusually wet conditions this part of Texas experienced ó some would say enjoyed ó earlier this year have given way to drier days, and several counties have instituted burn bans as a result. Brown County is among them.

The Thanksgiving weekend brought welcome rains, and ice and snow to some areas north and west of Brownwood, so a few area counties lifted their bans. Brown County is not among them.

The major grass fire near Zephyr Sunday afternoon is proof that the burn ban needs to remain in effect. Recent rains have not been adequate to improve conditions significantly, especially with the strong winds a series of frontal systems moving across the state have generated.

Meanwhile, every Brown County resident should be thankful for the men and women who train hard and volunteer their time to fight these fires in rural areas. Too often, when firefighters are included in our thoughts and prayers, we think primrarily of the professional firefighters whose fulltime repsonsibilites are to protect our lives and property from fires. And certainly, they have devoted their careers to helping others. But volunteer firefighters are special too, because they stand prepared to leave their jobs and families to help their neighbors when disaster strikes. Sometimes, that sacrifice costs them more than anyone wants, such as when Zephyr Fire Chief David Howard was injured Sunday.

Heeding burn bans and using caution when burning is allowed will help limit the threat of fires. But itís reassuring to know that they are ready to roll when called.

Brownwood Bulletin