By Lauren Cabral

Killeen Daily Herald

GATESVILLE - The burn ban is back on for Coryell County, but some burning will be permitted with the approval of city officials.

The Coryell County Commissioners Court approved a 90-day ban, but also approved a resolution allowing the burning of brush piles in unincorporated areas of the county upon approval of Fire Marshal Billy Vaden, also the Gatesville Volunteer Fire Department chief, and notification to the Coryell County Sheriff's Department.

The ban will expire on April 24.

The court also appointed Vaden and County Judge John Firth interim co-emergency management coordinators for Coryell County, effective Feb. 1.

Phil Yarbrough, the current emergency management coordinator, resigns Jan. 31.

Firth will be responsible for the Copperas Cove Fire Department's area. Vaden will oversee the remainder of the county in the event of an emergency. Applications for a permanent emergency management coordinator are available in County Auditor Ben Roberts' office in the Gatesville County Courthouse.

The court authorized a grant request to fund the emergency management coordinator's salary and emergency management equipment as well.

Other business

A three-day feral hog hunt by helicopter is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 7, pending on the weather, the court announced. Landowners interested in signing consent forms for the hunt should do so by Friday.

The hunt will concentrate on the watersheds of Cowhouse Creek and the Leon River, where Firth said feral hogs tend to gather. The effort will cost the county $350 per hour, not to exceed $7,500 total for the three-day period.

The state has volunteered two free days of helicopter use in March.

A resolution asking state legislators to support House Joint Resolution 56 was also approved. The resolution proposes a constitutional amendment to prohibit state lawmakers from imposing mandates on local government without paying for them - something Firth said often forces counties to raise property taxes.

If the proposal gets a two-thirds majority vote in the Texas House and Senate, voters will be able to vote on the measure in the November election.

The court urged residents to attend the Brazos River Authority's public meeting to discuss the proposed Leon River Watershed Protection Plan at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Commissioners Courtroom in the Gatesville County Annex.

The plan was developed by local landowners and city and county governments to address sources and causes of water quality impairments. It identifies voluntary strategies to reduce bacteria concentrations through the watershed.

Contact Lauren Cabral at or (254) 501-7476.

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