Midland County Fire Chief says a burn ban is needed

MIDLAND COUNTY, TX (KWES) - Mat McClure is the Fire Chief for Midland County, there are about 22 volunteers that dedicate their time to the fire department.

Mclure says this past week about 158 acres have burn in Midland County, resulting in up to six calls for the group of volunteers. This is nearly triple the amount than they normally have.

"The danger is extremely bad with the RH (relative humidity) factor that way it's going to be with the winds blowing the way they are any fire that is going to get started is going to turn into a massive wildfire in just a matter of minutes," said McClure.

The process to have a burn ban issued is not as simple as a fire department requesting one.

A burn ban is approved through the Midland County Commissioners Court and must be voted on before the county is issued a burn ban.

"The Keetch Byrum Index, which is the law has to be above certain numbers, and once it is for a certain period of time then that enables us to act if its underneath we really don't have much opportunity to act," said Michael Bradford, Midland County Judge.

Today, the Keetch Byrum Index released where Midland stands on the rating.

You can find that Midland County is in the orange zone, which is 400 to 500's.

Ector County, which currently has a burn ban, shows to be in the 300 to 400's.

Some may wonder why those numbers are so important.

400 TO 600 Wildfire intensity begins to increase significantly. Wildfires will readily burn, and larger fuels could burn or smolder for several days.

ABOVE 600- Wildfires will show extreme intensity. Deep-burning, intense wildfires with significant spotting can be expected.

A burn ban, might not be on the agenda right now, but the idea of one could be on the horizon.

"In April and May, when the winds are really high, so it wouldn't surprise me if we saw a request, but again we have to have the proper legal standing to do it," said Bradford.

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