Waller County imposes burn ban; communities take other measures as drought continues

By George Slaughter, News Editor
Posted 6/16/22

Waller County has instituted a burn ban in response to the ongoing summer drought, with Fort Bend and Harris counties likely to follow suit, perhaps this week.

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Waller County imposes burn ban; communities take other measures as drought continues

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Waller County has instituted a burn ban in response to the ongoing summer drought, with Fort Bend and Harris counties likely to follow suit, perhaps this week.

Waller County Deputy Fire Marshal Dean Hensley made the recommendation at the June 7 Waller County Commissioners Court meeting. Given the extended hot and dry conditions, neither County Judge Trey Duhon or the other commissioners needed persuading.

“It’s been pretty hot, and I thought the latest forecast shows high pressure in place, and now we’re inching up to 100 (degrees),” Duhon said.

Asked if any particular part of the county was worse off than the others, Hensley said no, and that things were tough all over. He described the drought as being on the west side of Texas and slowly moving to the east. According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, counties with major Texas cities such as Bexar (San Antonio), El Paso (El Paso), Nueces (Corpus Christi) and Travis (Austin) have burn bans now.

“It will trickle down to Harris County, I’m sure,” Hensley said.

Commissioners asked if the burn ban would prevent staging of July 4 fireworks shows. Duhon said they would restrict certain types of shows, but was not more specific.

Fort Bend County last weekend opened public facilities to serve as emergency cooling shelters. County Judge KP George said county residents should prepare for the intense temperatures. One of those buildings opened was the Cinco Ranch Branch Library, 2620 Commercial Center Blvd.

The county urged its residents to reduce electric use by taking the following actions:

  • Setting their thermostat to 78 degrees or higher.
  • Turning off lights and pool pumps, and avoid using large appliances like ovens, washing machines, and dryers.
  • Turning off and unplug unnecessary electrical items that are not being used.

The Fort Bend County Health and Human Services Department urged residents to protect themselves from the heat by taking these actions:

  • Avoiding the sun, staying indoors when the heat index is the strongest.
  • Drinking 2-4 glasses of water every hour during times of extreme heat.
  • Replacing salt and minerals by drinking low-sugar fruit juices or sports drinks during exercise or when working outside.
  • Avoiding alcohol.
  • Pacing oneself by reducing physical activity and avoid exercising outdoors during peak heat hours.
  • Wearing appropriate clothing, such as wide-brimmed hats and light-colored lightweight, loose-fitting clothes when outdoors.
  • Staying cool indoors during peak hours, and setting air conditioners between 75° to 80°.
  • Monitoring those at high risk, such as elderly neighbors, family members, infants and children up to 4 years of age, and friends who do not have air conditioning.
  • Keeping pets indoors. If pets will be outside, make sure they have plenty of water and a shaded area to help them keep cool.

Residents are also being asked to monitor for signs of heat exhaustion. If you suspect heat exhaustion, call 911, and move the person out of the heat right away.

In Katy, the city is experiencing Stage 1, or mild, drought conditions. The city is asking residents to help conserve water by taking the following actions:

  • Voluntarily reduce watering/irrigation of landscape. Water between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Voluntarily reduce water usage in the home/business.
  • Assess and repair any irrigation leaks, hose leaks, toilet leaks and any other potential leaks that may cause unexpected water loss.
  • Reduce draining and refilling of swimming pools.

The National Weather Service said conditions will remain hot and dry, with a slight chance of thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday.

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