Guadalupe County Courthouse

Guadalupe County Courthouse

A good amount of rain has fallen on Guadalupe County and allowed county officials to offer a bit of a respite for property owners who wish to clear away debris and more from their lands.

The Guadalupe County Commissioners Court lifted the countywide outdoor burning ban effective 6 a.m. Tuesday. Rainfall added sufficient water to the soil and reduced the dangers of dry matter on the ground, Guadalupe County Commissioner Pct. 1 Greg Seidenberger said.

“I know there are agricultural interests who have called me about burning,” he said. “They’ve got piles to burn and they’ve held off. Now, we feel like it’s safe to do and we lifted the burn ban.”

Commissioners last instituted the burn ban Oct. 12 as the county continued through a dry spell. About a month before that, the court let a burn ban lapse at its regular meeting Sept. 6.

It’s time to allow people to burn their rubbish and more but they still should remain prudent when doing so, Seidenberger, who also serves as county judge pro tem, said.

“All the things we judge the safety by are indicating we’re okay to burn,” he said. “We always encourage our citizens to be careful, be concerned and be prepared.”

The county uses the Keetch Byram Drought Index to measure the amount of moisture in the soil, which gives officials an indication of how dry it is it using a scale of 0 to 800. County officials typically use a KDBI Index of 500 to begin conversations about potential burn bans.

On Monday, the county’s average KBDI sat at about 612 a drop from the 667 a week prior, according to Texas A&M Forest Service’s interactive map provided on its web page. A month ago, the county’s KDBI average was 718.

An order lifting the outdoor burn ban lists “the considerable amount of rainfall” in parts of unincorporated Guadalupe County and the forest service’s determination of “significantly reduced” drought conditions as reasons leading to canceling the ban.

The county has received about a half an inch of rain to an inch in some portions of the county over the past couple of days, according to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS).

People should continue to use caution and follow all state laws regarding burning procedures, reads the order Seidenberger signed as county judge pro tem.

As a pecan farmer and cattle rancher, he thinks property owners in agricultural fields and others in the county usually are careful and knowledgeable about burning when bans are lifted. The same should hold true after Monday’s order lifting the most recent burn ban, Seidenberger said.

It comes as a blessing too many, he said.

“I’m very happy as a farmer, a rancher and a producer. I’ve got some piles in my orchard ready to burn so this is a good occasion,” Seidenberger said. “I have been getting several calls from farmers and ranchers saying, ‘hey, we got some rain, can I burn.’ I said, ‘no.’ But, now that we’ve lifted the burn ban I can tell them yes.”

Dalondo Moultrie is the assistant managing editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at dalondo.moultrie@seguingazette.com .

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