By Anthony Scott
The Cove Herald
Dry conditions and high winds led the National Weather Service to issue a fire weather warning Monday morning for Bell and Coryell counties. However, forecasters changed their minds that afternoon, citing wind conditions as likely to be less than 25 miles per hour.
Despite the NWS cancellation, Coryell County issued an emergency burn ban effective at 5 p.m. Monday.
Lampasas County is also under a burn ban until further notice because of high fire danger over the last couple weeks, a Lampasas Fire Department firefighter said.
Coryell County Judge John Firth said his judgment to order a burn ban was based on information from the Texas Department of Public Safety and maps he saw indicating high winds.
"The other part to this is, if you were here, we had some pretty good rains a few months ago and a lot of that vegetation grew and is now dried out," Firth said. "Coupled with dry wind, low humidity, coupled with the amounts of high vegetation, that makes it particularly vulnerable."
Normally, counties use the drought index to decide when to impose burn bans. Other conditions such as winds above 25 mph and dry vegetation can make fires more likely.
"What we're hoping to do is decrease as much as possible the threat to life and property," Firth said.
Firth said the usual tipping point for the county to impose a burn ban is about 500 on the index.
Coryell County was listed at 458 Monday.
Contact Anthony Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcity. Holly Wise contributed to this story.