Burn ban remains in effect as triple digit heat combined with low humidity makes for dangerous conditions this weekend. Lightning strikes from recent passing thunderstorms lead to several wildfires in the Montgomery County area. Deputy Fire Marshals continue to issue citations, with one investigation leading to arrest of Splendora resident on unrelated charges.
Conroe, Tx August 26, 2011
Most of Montgomery County is currently classified as”very high fire danger” due to the ongoing record drought. The area has not seen a soaking rainfall since October 2010. Recent passing rains have done little to change conditions, and lightning caused wildfires have kept Firefighters busy in Willis and Magnolia. The largest fire is located in a remote area off FM 1486 near the Montgomery / Grimes County line. This fire was contained late Friday evening, and was estimated to be at least 100 acres in size. Firefighters from Magnolia and Montgomery were joined by Grimes County crews and the Texas Forest Service. The Texas Department of Public Safety and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department responded Friday afternoon to assist in the event of evacuations, but ultimately none were needed. Another fire burned several acres in Camp Robinwood, a Girl Scout Camp off Calvary Rd, North of Willis.
Choose to Burn – Risk Going to Jail
As part of a recent warrant roundup initiative, Montgomery County Commissioner’s Court has asked all County Law Enforcement Agencies, including the Montgomery County Fire Marshal’s Office to assist in clearing as many as possible outstanding criminal warrants.
Friday evening, MCFMO Deputy FM J. Fox identified a wanted person during a routine investigation of an illegal burn in the Splendora area. Deputy Fox issued Splendora resident Wilheim Krolls a citation for burning illegally at his property on Fostoria Rd, but a routine check also revealed an outstanding Class A Misdemeanor warrant for Criminal Mischief. Deputy Fox arrested Mr. Krolls on the outstanding warrant from Splendora PD and transported him to the Montgomery County jail. Deputy Fire Marshals will continue to check all persons suspected of violating the burn ban for outstanding warrants, and anyone with open warrants faces arrest in addition to a Class C Citation for illegal burning.
Montgomery County now registers an average Keetch Byram Drought Index reading of 762, with some areas near the upper end of the scale at 792. The highest possible reading is 800, and at these levels, even small fires can smolder and burn for days. Residents are reminded to refrain from all burning.
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Residents are urged to curtail any outdoor activity that could start a wildfire;
- Use a LPG grill for outdoor cooking, do not use charcoal or wood burning pits as the hot coals can easily ignite dry grass for hours and days after use.
- Do not weld, cut or grind metal within 25 feet of anything that will burn
- Do not discard cigarettes out the window
- Maintain mechanical equipment used in agriculture and trailers used on the roadway. One of the largest fires in East Texas started from an axle problem on a trailer that overheated and started a roadside fire.
- Residents living near heavily wooded areas should be especially vigilant in the days immediately following after lightning passes through the area. Lightning caused fires may smolder for several days before breaking out and endangering adjacent neighborhoods.