The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOSHEM) has moved to Level 3 – Increased Readiness in response to the increased risk of fires cause by drought conditions.
Increased Readiness means that hazardous conditions exist but pose no direct or imminent threat to life/property. Increased Readiness may require additional agencies to support a response from the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), based on the nature of the incident.
The Harris County Commissioners’ Court enacted restrictions on outdoor burning at this morning’s session. The burn restrictions require the use of covered burn containers for the incineration of household trash, vegetation, and campfires. Permitted burning activities such as training fires, prescribed burns, and ceremonial fires are unaffected by today’s action.
Harris County Fire Marshal Mike Montgomery strongly urges partners to report unattended fires to 9-1-1 immediately
Violation of the burn ban is class C misdemeanor.
The Keetch Byram Drought Index (KBDI) has increased over the past month, peaking today at an average of 677, with some areas as high as 722. The KBDI measures rainfall deficits on a scale of 1-800 with 800 being the worst case, representing a need for approximately eight inches of rain to fully saturate the ground. Any reading above 600 represents higher fire danger, while readings of 700 or more represent very high extreme fire danger.
No additional staffing is required at this time. This will change in the event a Red Flag Warning is issued by the National Weather Service.
For more information online about outdoor burning restrictions, please visit the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office website, www.hcfmo.net.
Wildfire safety tips are available from Texas Forest Service.
Updates will be issued as needed until the fire threat subsides.