SAN ANTONIO — Right now, a burn ban is in effect for Bexar County.
The fire marshal and county leaders made the decision due to extremely dry conditions, and no significant rain expected in the long term.
After fires in areas like Camp Bullis, some residents think this is the right thing to do.
On the quiet trails of Eisenhower Park, Kristi Traugott and her dog Riley go for walks every week.
She’s not burning anything—but thinks the ban is necessary—to protect San Antonio.
“We have those great natural areas that we love to come to and we don’t want to burn down,” Traugott said the fires at Camp Bullis this month are still fresh in her mind.
“I had friends and it was really close to their house so it’s that terrifying that fire can do that,”
Since declaring a disaster last week—Bexar County Fire Marshal Chris Lopez says a handful of people haven’t followed the rules.
“We have had a few folks that have taken calls and they’ve cited people for [unlawful burning],” Lopez said.
All burning in the county is banned with some exceptions.
You can still burn household trash in burn barrels with a mesh screen to prevent the spread of sparks and flames.
You can still grill outdoors using propane or charcoal—as long as the fire is supervised.
Campfires or bonfires are not allowed because of how dry it is. Prohibited burn items also included treated construction waste, household garbage, tires, rubber or plastic products, heavy oils, fiberglass products and oil-based materials.
Lopez says they refer to the Texas A&M Forest Service’s drought index which was at 575 Tuesday morning. Bexar county’s average is 498.
“All it takes is a very small ember or a firework or somebody, and I hate to say it, somebody intentionally starting that fire and then you got a fire with all of that underbrush,” Lopez said.
The ban also restricts the sale of fireworks—which could impact 4th of July plans, but not for Traugott.
“I also work in healthcare and we see a lot of the people who get their hands blown off…I like to see the fireworks up in the sky but I also don’t want to burn down the city,” Traugott said.
Lopez says the 90-day ban could be extended or shortened if weather conditions improve.