Hemphill County Commissioners voted unanimously Monday morning, Feb. 11, to reinstate the county-wide outdoor burn ban (see copy at bottom). The commissioners agreed that, given recent high winds and heavy fuel loads, a burn ban might make the public more aware of fire weather threats.
Earlier today, Amarillo’s National Weather Service warned of elevated to critical fire weather conditions anticipated Monday afternoon across the southwestern Texas Panhandle, where gusts out of the southwest were expected to be as high as 55 mph, humidity as low as 15 percent, and drying fuels present.
Recent grass fires in the area have either been caused or aggravated by gusty winds and abundant dry fuels. A grass fire that burned 2,300 acres of Roberts County ranchland two weeks ago (see photo above) was caused by a power line, whipping in 30 mph winds.
Should ample precipitation occur and fire weather conditions abate, County Judge George Briant is authorized to rescind the ban without court action.
The ban took effect at 9:05 am Monday morning.