With high temperatures persisting in North Texas, both Collin and Denton Counties are issuing an outdoor burn ban for unincorporated areas through the rest of the summer until October 9. The reason given is "extremely dry conditions in rural areas."
The ban is effective immediately. If the Texas Forest Service or the Commissioners Court deem the ban no longer necessary, the ban will be lifted before its current end date.
In an official statement, the town of Prosper announced that it will follow both counties' 90-day ban and notes the following:
The order does not prohibit outdoor burning activities related to public health and safety that are authorized by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for: 1. Firefighter training; 2.Public utility, natural gas pipeline or mining operations; or, 3. Burns that are conducted by a prescribed burn manager certified under Section 153.048 of the Natural Resources Code and meet the standards of Section 153.047 of the Natural Resources Code.
What does this mean for backyard BBQ? According to the statement, "The ban does not include the use of grills, smokers or similar devices as long as the open flame, embers and coals are contained in an approved device intended for that particular use."
The city of McKinney is also supporting the burn ban within its incorporated limits, and the McKinney Fire Department (MFD) is requiring hot work permits for those performing hot work outdoors, including cutting and welding.
"The free permits reinforce the importance of heightened awareness for safety during these hot and dry conditions,” said McKinney Fire Marshal Mike Smith in an official statement.
The city of McKinney also released the following guidelines:
No open burning is allowed. That includes recreation fires that are used for warmth, pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, or other purposes.
Wood-burning fire pits or campfires are not allowed.
The burn ban does NOT include residential grills and smokers.
As Local Profile previously reported, this summer is turning out to be one of the hottest on record — so far, at least. Even the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) apparently did not think it was going to be this hot.
"There’s a lot of room between the hottest summer on record and the second hottest summer on record," State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon told Texas Standard earlier this year. "We could well hit that target."
Rural Texas is so dry that ranchers are having to sell cattle by the thousands.
"We’ve always compared years to 2011, as far as droughts and whatnot, but 2022 is worse," rancher Lloyd Arthur previously told the Texas Tribune. "We don’t have any underground moisture."