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2017-02-15 / Featured

Where there’s smoke …

By Nannette Kilbey-Smith
Wilson County News

Cindy Weems snapped this photo Feb. 9 from the Avex Homes open house in River Bend Subdivision. The pillar of thick smoke is from a controlled burn that caused concern among county residents. Cindy Weems snapped this photo Feb. 9 from the Avex Homes open house in River Bend Subdivision. The pillar of thick smoke is from a controlled burn that caused concern among county residents. A pillar of thick smoke was visible for miles Feb. 9, prompting many area residents to be concerned.

The cause was a controlled, or prescribed, burn near Floresville on C.R. 1303, a common practice on land being cleared for development or planting. A prescribed burn — to clear vegetation under specific conditions and confined to a given area, with planning and precautionary measures — is permitted under state law. Burning of household waste outside the city limits of Floresville, La Vernia, Poth, and Stockdale also is permitted, as well as campfires. Controlled burns and trash burning must both be supervised.

Wilson County currently does not have a burn ban, but conditions continue to be unseasonably warm and dry, fostering cause for concern. Landowners undertaking prescribed burns, should, as a courtesy, contact the Wilson County fire marshal to advise accordingly.

If the warm, dry conditions continue, a ban may be considered.

Under a burn ban, permits from the fire marshal are required for prescribed burns.

Even if burning is undertaken in compliance with state law and county guidelines, if a fire gets out of control and causes damage to other properties, the person responsible for the fire may be held liable for damages.

To receive a permit to burn or advise your intent for controlled burns, call the Wilson County Health & Public Safety Office at 830-393-8503.

Outdoor burning

Limitations on outdoor burning, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, include:

•Fires must be outside corporate limits of a city or town

•Burns can begin no earlier than one hour after sunrise, and must be completed on the same day, not later than an hour after sunset

•Items that cannot be burned include tires, non-wood construction debris, furniture, carpet, electrical wire, and appliances.

nkilbey-smith@wcn-online.com

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