Countywide burn ban still in effect

Even with the disaster declaration running out and the recent rain that has come to Hutchinson County, a countywide burn ban is still in effect for now.The ban, which was initially approved in January of this year and then extended in April, prohibits the burning of trash and any type of burning in open pits. It does not affect farmers who do agricultural burning, but does restrict other types of outdoor burning.The ban and its extension received approval from the Hutchinson County Commissioner’s Court earlier this year. With the area still under the ban, and most of summer still to come, Hutchinson County Fire Marshal Danny Richards asks local residents to use extreme caution, particularly when it comes to outdoor burning and any activities that may be planned.Since the beginning of 2011, over 130 fires have been put out by local fire departments across the area. Richards said some of the fires have been small and some large, but they all are important in the whole scheme of things. “Everyone has to exercise extreme caution,” he said.The disaster declaration, issued in early June by County Judge Faye Blanks and signed and approved by Texas Governor Rick Perry, prohibited the sale and use of fireworks by county residents. The declaration officially expired at 7 a.m. this morning.