By CHRIS AGEE
Despite weekend rains, a burn ban is currently in place for all Palo Pinto County; however, at Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to permit County Judge David Nicklas to rescind an active burn ban for up to 72 hours.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Louis Ragle explained the change will permit burning for a short time, “such as after a big rain,” without permanently lifting the ban.
Nicklas said he would not use the authority unilaterally.
“Before it would happen, I would notify all commissioners and the county fire marshal,” he said.
Additionally, he noted the Palo Pinto County Sheriff’s Office would also be alerted.
“Obviously, we’ll have to get it out to the media so the public will know,” he added.
With hot temperatures predicted for the rest of the week and little chance for precipitation, the current burn ban will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future. County Fire Marshal Buddy Harwell recommended leaving it in place to the unanimous support of commissioners.
Conditions are not severe enough, however, to restrict fireworks sales ahead of Independence Day.
With a Keetch-Byram Drought Index rating of 401 Tuesday morning and a recent high of 508, the county’s score is below what’s needed to regulate fireworks sales.
“We’re not at that magic number,” Harwell told commissioners.
PPSO gets warrant roundup dividends
Palo Pinto County Sheriff Ira Mercer explained why he felt his department should keep the $50 per arrest paid by Mineral Wells authorities during the recent warrant roundup campaign.
He said the payments were made for PPSO officers who arrested wanted individuals outside city limits.
Mercer noted the $4,000 paid for housing the inmates has already been added to the county’s general fund. Since deputies used resources and time pursuing the arrests, he said he feels adding the additional funds to his departmental line item is a fair balance.
Commissioners agreed, approving his proposal unanimously.