WAXAHACHIE — Continued dry conditions forced the Ellis County Commissioners Court to enact a burn ban at its Tuesday morning meeting.
Presenting the request before the court was Ellis County Fire Marshal Tim Birdwell.
“The main reason to enact a burn ban is for the life and safety for the volunteer and paid firefighters out there in the county,” Birdwell said. “There were a lot of grass fires last week. We are starting to see a lot of them because of the dead grass that fuels the fire. Even though it might rain here today or tomorrow the grass is not going to grow.”
Birdwell stated that the Ketch-Byram Drought Index, which is used to determine fire potential, had a rating of 571. He noted that before the next court meeting it will reach the threshold of 600, which requires a burn ban.
The index ranges from zero to 800, where a reading of zero represents no moisture depletion, and an interpretation of 800 represents entirely dry conditions.
The Texas Weather Connection’s website states that the KBBI is based on a daily water balance and where a drought factor is balanced with precipitation and soil moisture.
Birdwell added that, due to the conditions created by any hard freeze, it would be difficult for firefighters to battle a grass fire.
Assistant County Attorney Vance Hinds then addressed the court with an offer to settle a property damage claim. The claim involved a 2017 Toyota Camry that was damaged by debris was thrown from a mower operated by an employee from Ellis County Road and Bridge Pct. 4.
Commissioners approved to settle the claim totaling $887.49.
In other business the commissioners,
• Approved for County Judge Carol Bush to sign a Xerox agreement with the County Auditor’s office with a monthly payment of $207.83, which is up from the previous monthly payment of $150.35.
• Approved a resolution to cast the county’s votes in favor of Tommy Hamilton to serve on the Ellis County Appraisal District for the years 2018-19.
• Approved for Bush to sign a contract between the county and Southwestern Assemblies of God University for the use of its training room facility for the annual county Skywarn training to take place on March 1.
• Approved the assistant district attorney expenses for Dec. 18 – Jan 15 not to exceed $10,000.
• Approved interlocal cooperation agreements between the county and the Cities of Glenn Heights, Red Oak, Ovilla, and Oak Leaf for 2018.
• Approved the purchase of security equipment.
• Approved to accept the bond for the fire marshal’s new two-year term.