One month after burn ban enacted, it's lifted

By Lisa Treiber-Walter —

A little less than a month after it was enacted, Gillespie County’s “burn ban” was lifted Thursday, March 20, making it legal once again for residents to light outdoor, open-flame fires.

County Judge Mark Stroeher released the ban after County Fire Marshal Steve Olfers said he and the rural fire department chiefs agreed that the small amount of moisture that has fallen recently, along with forecasts for higher humidity and rains, provided more stable outdoor conditions.

“It presents a good opportunity for people to take care of some of the burning that needs to be done,” Stroeher said.

When Gillespie County Commissioners first adopted the measure on Monday, Feb. 24, they did so amid controversy.

Commissioners deliberating the decision admitted they had received several calls from local farmers/ranchers urging them not to put a ban in place because ag producers were in the middle of burning coastal fields. Outlawing outdoor burning, at that time, would impede their operations, they said.

However, county officials voted unanimously to implement the ban at the recommendation of fire officials who asked commissioners to look at the “bigger picture” of wildfire hazards.

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