On its Facebook page, the Wharton County Constable’s Office Precinct 2 posted a photo of an Wednesday, Oct. 9 incident that involved several area fire departments to respond to the Spanish Camp area on Sanford Road. Volunteer fire departments from Wharton, East Bernard and Glen Flora worked to extinguish a large grass, brush and trash fire.

It reportedly got out of control, paving the way for first responders to be dispatched to the scene around 1:45 p.m. 

Anthony Abbott, fire chief with the Wharton VFD, said fire units were on scene for three hours. 

“The resident was burning trash inside of a shopping cart he left it unattended then the fire spread to his backyard  that is a junkyard,” Abbott said.

Hungerford VFD Chief Fred Ivy said his department didn’t respond to this incident as they were tending to a wreck on US 59 at the same time.

At the time, outdoor burning was allowed.

A  day later, Wharton County Emergency Management Coordinator said changes in the weather would change this.

On Friday, Oct. 11, outdoor burning was not allowed due to wind conditions forecast. The rules applied to Saturday, he reported.

“Big changes as a substantial cold front passes our area,” Kirkland said Thursday. “We expected our high temperature to arrive around 8 to 10 a.m. right before the front passed bringing very windy conditions to our area.”

He said not cold temps, but rather high winds gusting to 30 mph were the reason for the restriction to outdoor burning across the county.

“We expect temperatures to drop to around 60 degrees by 6 p.m., with winds 20 to 30 mph making for a cool evening Friday. Winds are forecast to drop off Saturday and the regular outdoor burning rules will apply.”

On Tuesday, Oct. 8, the Keetch-Byram Drought Index value was 504 (336-667). 

The day before, the value was 496 (325-663).

“The readings are checked every Monday to see if a burn ban should be implemented and there is a good chance that this upcoming Monday’s reading will exceed 500,” he said. “We do have a chance of rain in the forecast for Friday but precipitation forecasts for the next three to seven days are for Wharton County to only receive between .10 to .25 inches of rain, which may not be enough to put off a ban. 

He said Emergency Management would monitor this closely.

A ban as a result of the KBDI value may be in place as early as Thursday, Oct. 17, he added.

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