By CHRIS AGEE
The burn ban is lifted, for now.
County Fire Marshal Buddy Harwell said recent precipitation has resulted in greener vegetation and a lower Keetch-Byram Drought Index rating.
Addressing Palo Pinto County Commissioners during Monday's meeting, he said the current KBDI rating is in the low 300s, which is about 200 points lower than the conditions reported last summer.
Commissioners decided to lift the ban, though Harwell stressed state law that prohibits burning in certain wind conditions.
The law dictates no burning can take place on days with winds between 6 and 20 miles per hour or wind gusts over 20 MPH.
"If it is a Level Orange or Red ozone action day, no burning," he added.
Though reports surfaced last week concerning several small fires suspected to be the work of an arsonist, Harwell said no fires have been reported in the past few days.
"None over the weekend," he said. "We've been doing good since Wednesday."
He told the Index authorities still have no leads on the possible arsonist. Anyone with information concerning nine separate fires – concentrated around U.S. Highway 180 and Farm-to-Market Road 4 in Palo Pinto – over the past few weeks can call Harwell at (940) 325-5726 or the Palo Pinto Sheriff's Office at (940) 659-2085.
Public hearing set in minimum standard adoption
Continuing forward with last month's proposal, commissioners chose April 8 as the date for the first public hearing to adopt minimum infrastructure standards for the county's manufactured home rental communities.
"This is something we need to get on top of," County Judge David Nicklas said.
Nicklas and Precinct 3 Commissioner Mike Pierce expressed their desire to begin the process of establishing the standard.
"As the county continues to grow, we need to deal with this sooner rather than later," Pierce said.
Nicklas indicated last month the standards would focus on major issues, including drainage, and requested the county's engineering department draft a document specifically for the needs of this area.
He added a grandfather clause could be included to cover existing communities.
The hearing will coincide with the next regular commissioners court session and will begin at 9 a.m.