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San Antonio

Bexar County declares disaster due to fire-prone conditions

Grass fire photo courtesy of Emergency Services District 5.jpg
Bexar County Emergency Services District 5
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Grass fire battled by Bexar County Emergency Services District 5 this spring

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff on Tuesday issued a disaster declaration effective immediately to address dangerous fire conditions across the county.

Wolff consulted with Bexar County Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Coordinator Chris Lopez before taking the extra step to enhance protection for residents and their properties.

“In order to issue a burn ban, we have to reach a specific drought level index. Once that condition is met, we have to present the burn ban proclamation to Commissioners Court for approval," Lopez said. "In recognition of the recent spike in wildfires and the ongoing environmental conditions, we came to recognize that appeals and recommendations are no longer enough."

Bexar County has not had significant rainfall for an extended period and weather forecasters expect little change for the near future. The magnitude of potential damage and the rapid spread of brush fires in recent weeks here and in neighboring counties has only amplified the need for more assertive action, according to a county news release.

“We cannot sit idly by and hope that everybody does their part. With conditions like this, we had to step in and do everything within our means to minimize the fire danger," Wolff said in conjunction with the order.

The declaration includes a ban on the practice of outdoor burning.

The declaration and ban will stay in effect through April 19, 2022, which is the next scheduled meeting for the Bexar County Commissioners Court. The fire marshal said he would recommend to the full Commissioners Court to enact a burn ban at that time.

Violations of the disaster declaration and its stipulations is punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 county officials said.

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