By LEWIS SPEARMAN
CROSBY Authorities are responding to drought conditions by issuing additional general warnings for residents concerning outdoor burning and water usage.
Seven grass and wood fires in seven days in Crosby with the worst fire last Saturday just off F.M. 1942 near Holy Rd. beginning at about 4:30 p.m. and lasting much of the evening indicates that it does not take much to set ablaze volatile vegetation.
According to Jimmy Berryman, the Fire Marshal for Crosby Volunteer Fire Dept. that fire began from the simple act of backing a car into some high underbrush and from humble beginnings with a little wind it grew to encompass wider acreage and spread rapidly even after seemingly contained. Access was the prime problem with this fire, it being on private property with limited access for trucks to get at the blaze.
The new problem for firefighters seems to be that some have not gotten the idea that the Extended Burn Ban is serious. It is, and according to Berryman, over $500 in fines for simple burning from the Fire Marshals office and Harris County Sheriffs Deputies and if the fire spreads to your neighbors house, that could be charged as felony arson.
The Texas Forestry Service says Wildfire activity is on the rise as the state continues to experience critical drought conditions.
So far this year, Texas Forest Service crews in the northeast part of the state have responded to 631 fires that have burned 9,705 acres. Throughout the entire 2010 calendar year, 358 fires occurred in the same region, burning 4,598 acres.
Extra caution is advised when using heat-producing equipment, especially in areas with tall grass. Welders are cautioned to use a spotter and have a fire extinguisher nearby.
Although burn bans are in place in every county in Northeast Texas, the number of wildfires resulting from outdoor burning has increased recently.
In addition to criminal charges, those responsible for escaped fires also are subject to civil liability. Current conditions are so dry that a single spark can create a dangerous wildfire. Anyone seeing suspicious activity or arson is asked to call 1-800-364-3740.
The plight of the rancher and horse industry is getting worse with no grass available and the price of hay doubling and tripling.
Crosby Municipal Utility District has issued the following restrictions to all customers:
Outside watering is allowed only from 10 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. A hand held water hose is allowed between 7:00 p.m. and Midnight and Midnight until 10:00 a.m.
Using water to wash vehicles from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 a.m. is prohibited except for vehicles such as garbage trucks and trucks transporting food.
Filling or refilling wading pools, swimming pools or jacuzzis is prohibited except midnight to 10:00 a.m.
Operating any ornamental fountain or pond for aesthetic or scenic purposes is prohibited except where necessary to support aquatic life or have a recirculation system.
Wash down of sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking lots and hard surface areas is prohibited.
Washing buildings or structures is prohibited except for fire protection.
Using water for dust control is prohibited.
Flushing gutters or any accumulating of water in streets or gutters is prohibited.
Failing to repair a leak within 72 hours after having been given notice directing the repair is prohibited.
Call 281-328-4242 for details.
Its hot and dry in Texas Yall.