Tarrant County burn ban imposed

Tarrant County commissioners Tuesday imposed an outdoor burning ban for the next 90 days.

The ban is a preventative measure to protect property and lives because the drought index has increased over the past six weeks, county Fire Marshal Randy Renois said.

Unincorporated areas of Tarrant County — such as the areas surrounding Eagle Mountain Lake, south of Benbrook, west of Crowley and south of Azle — are in drought conditions, determined by the Texas A&M Forest Service and National Weather Service.

“Up until five or six days ago, we hadn’t had a lot of grassfires,” Renois said. “Last week, we had four in one day in three different areas.”

Failure to comply with the burn ban is punishable by a class C misdemeanor and a fine up to $500, Renois said.

In addition to being dry, it got hot again Tuesday. The official high temperature of 98 at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport tied a record for the day, according to the National Weather Service. The last time an Oct. 7 was that hot was in 1979, said Eric Martello, a meteorologist at the weather service’s Fort Worth office.

It was even hotter in west Fort Worth, where a high of 103 was recorded at the Naval Air Station, the hottest reading in North Texas.

Temperatures will remain between 85 and 90 degrees before it starts to cool down by Friday, Martello said.

One factor in the burn ban is that September had only 0.06 inch of rain recorded for the month.

But droughts accumulate over a period of several years, Martello said.

“It’s not something that is going to be resolved because someone got a quick inch of rain last week,” Martello said of Thursday’s storm that knocked out power to thousands of electric customers. It takes a couple years of above-normal rainfall to alleviate drought, Martello said.

“Our little Metroplex has been neglected,” Renois said about the lack of rain. “It can rain real hard in Arlington and Hurst-Euless-Bedford, but that area is pretty much concrete and asphalt.”