The humidity is higher than last week, but with a forecast light for rain and increasing spring/summer temperatures, Orange County officials say a burn ban might be on the way.
Officials in Tyler, Newton and Jefferson counties discussed bans this week, and at noon Monday Eric Foerster, Vidor chief of police, called a ban. Burn permits will not be issued within Vidor city limits. Tyler and Newton officials implemented limited bans.
Emergency management officials are keeping watch with the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI), a monitoring system provided by Texas Agrilife and the Texas Forest Service.
Jeff Kelley, Orange County emergency management coordinator, told commissioners in regular session Monday that precipitation forecasts on Friday and Saturday are “not likely to produce much rain.”
“The fire departments did pretty well over [this past] weekend,” he said. “We didn’t get a lot of [reports]. We were at 400-500 [KBDI] last week. Now we’re at 500-600 and at least once within the next 14 days we’ll be at 600-700, which is the next to worst category there is.
“We may have some rain opportunity coming up. It’s not much. The good news is: even though the temperatures will be starting to creep up over this next week … The humidity is still going to be a little higher than it has been although it is still lower than normal.”
Kelley suggested commissioners “hold out for one more week. After that, all bets are off because [by then] we’re probably going to be at [the final] KBDI level.
If need be, Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux has the authority to call a temporary emergency ban in between weekly commissioners’ meetings.