Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

August 5, 2013

reflections - on Fire & Burn Bans

Mineral Wells Index

— Last year there were some pretty bad fires, too, as there have been this year, and because of that our county commissioners have quite often enforced a burn ban on the county, as other commissioners have in counties all around us. There was a 90-day burn ban put into effect here on July 22.

What does a burn ban mean? It means no one may set outside fires...at all, period, full stop, end!

This doesn’t mean don’t burn great piles of brush, but it’s ok to burn a small, closely watched fire. This means there is a ban on all burning...except as a means of warmth in cold weather. But, say, I do believe most of our temperatures recently have been in the 90s and over 100!  

Some folks just love to sit around a campfire. However, even though I was a Boy Scout leader for years and have camped for decades, I don’t understand the building of fires, even for recreation, in the middle of a hot Texas summer.

But, if you are going to set a “camp fire” in the dry, hot, Texas summer, or any other time for that matter, you need to follow a few simple, but powerful, guidelines.

Here are some of them:

• Build campfires well away from tents or tarps...or houses or wooden fences.

• Construct a fire ring and line it with stones.

• Never leave a fire unattended.

• Keep a bucket of water close by to put out the fire.

• Keep wood and other fuel sources away from the fire.

• Thoroughly extinguish all fires, or as Smoky the Bear would say, “Put the fire out - dead out.”

I think I can safely say that if you are building a fire in your back yard, these rules have to be followed, if, and only if, there is no county-wide burn ban. In that case, you simply may not build a fire!

Since most of the towns in our county, including Mineral Wells, do not have specific regulations on burning in the city limits, we are required to, at the very least, follow what our commissioners in the county have set down, not just as guidelines, but as law. With the breaking of that law come some serious fines.

I have heard recently of neighborhoods where people are setting backyard fires for recreational purposes, and then leaving the fires, expecting them to go out on their own, I guess. So far as I am concerned, that is not only against the law, as we have our 90-day burn ban on at present, but it is malicious mischief. Houses have burned down and lives have been lost all over the world because of carelessness.

I beg you, don’t set fires; follow the law; don’t be careless and accidentally cause hardship to yourself or to someone else.

If you would like to read more of my reflections, you can find my blog at http://siouxsue.blogspot.com.