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2013-07-04 digital edition

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2013-07-04 / Front Page

Judge Enacts Emergency Burn Ban

But doesn’t put a damper on 4th of July fireworks displays

Lee County Judge Paul Fischer signed an Emergency Burn Ban order Monday morning, prohibiting outdoor burning except under specific guidelines.

“We don’t have to tell anyone that it is dry and hot outside,” said Judge Fischer. “Due to the imminent threat of disaster from wild fires and the fact that the drought index stands at 658 right now, I am convinced this action is necessary.”

The Burn Ban specifically prohibits anyone burning any combustible material outside of an enclosure, defined as a container no larger than a 55-gallon barrel that incorporates the use of a screen or wire lid. The container must be able to contain all flames and/or sparks, should one choose to burn outdoors. However, if any fire is left unattended, a violation occurs and the subject may receive a warning from a law enforcement officer or fire chief. Any flagrant violations of the Burn Ban may bring prosecution to the subject in accordance with the statutes and procedures governing misdemeanors.

Lee/Bastrop County Farm Bureau President Mike Organ said, “The memory of the Bastrop County fires a couple of years ago is still very fresh on most of our minds. While Judge Fischer has not banned fireworks, our landscape remains tinder dry. A spark can quickly become a sixfigure nightmare of a loss to one of our farmers or ranchers. A single firecracker could ignite a blaze that could consume buildings, pastures, crops and burn livestock to death, not to mention threaten human lives as well.”

He continued, “I enjoy fireworks on the Fourth as much as anyone, so I would like to remind people that the safest course for enjoying fireworks is to watch the dozens of magnificent professional displays in our small towns. If you must light the fuses yourself, know where the sparks land and make sure that no blazes result.”

Happy birthday, America—let’s celebrate safely!

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