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San Antonio

Grass fires, gardening concerns grow along with dry spell in Bexar County

Grass fire photo courtesy of Emergency Services District 5.jpg
ESD 5
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Grass fire recently battled by Bexar County Emergency Services District 5

Several of the rural Bexar County Emergency Services Districts responded to grass fires during the month of February, and March is not looking much better.

One burned 25 acres and destroyed a couple of mobile homes and an RV, east of Hwy 281, in southern Bexar County.

Before some light rains fell this weekend, Bexar County was running about 1.5 inches behind in normal rain fall amount for the year, so grass fires remain a concern, especially on windy days with low humidity.

The U.S. Drought Monitor reports moderate drought conditions exist in far west and deep south Bexar County and abnormally dry conditions cover the rest of the county.

It's still a month away, but Bexar County Commissioners last week wanted to make sure a planned fireworks show during the Texas Valero Open off TPC Parkway, east of 281, is a safe thing to do if the dry spell continues. It runs from March 31 to April 3.

County Fire Marshall Chris Lopez told them outdoor conditions are dry, but not enough to take official action.

"We cannot enact a burn ban and I would say the extended forecast...we're still not going to be there," Lopez told County Commissioner Tommy Calvert last week.

Lopez also told them area Emergency Service Districts and fire departments have been notified of the fireworks show as a precaution.

The golf tournament is in its 100th year and wants to celebrate with a country concert with Jason Aldean and Darius Rucker and fireworks.

"We don't traditionally do fireworks as part of the event, but this year we will be following our first round of competition on Thursday evening, we will be hosting fireworks at TPC San Antonio and that was included in our permit," said the tournament's executive director, Larson Sagerdahl.

Commissioners proceeded to approve of the plans after the discussion with Lopez.

Another impact of the dry weather is the dropping Edwards Aquifer, the main source of water for the region. As of this past weekend, the 10-day average water level had dipped to 644 feet or just 4 feet above the mark where Stage One water restrictions are triggered.

Under Stage One, residents can only water landscaping with automatic sprinklers once a week based on street address, but hand watering is permitted at any time.

With spring-time planting and watering starting in just a couple of weeks. it's a little troubling to gardeners that the planting season may need to take into account early water restrictions.

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