In and around Athens, TX, Henderson County firefighters are at their limit. These brave firefighters have responded to 40 fires just this week and 134 so far in July, according to a Declaration of Local Disaster issued today.

This afternoon, County Judge Wade McKinney signed a declaration declaring a Local State of Disaster in Henderson County. It's in response to the extended drought and rash of wildfires.

While many counties across East Texas are under burn bans, Henderson County now expressly prohibits:

-- Outdoor burning of combustible materials in an outdoor environment by any person is prohibited. Combustible materials include, but are not limited to the use of all fireworks, burning of trash, brush and open campfires, and materials used outdoors in activities that could result in a fire.

-- The discarding of cigarettes/cigars or ashes is prohibited unless each Cigarette/cigar and ashes are deposited into an appropriate receptacle known to extinguish combustion and customarily use for such purpose.

-- Outdoor welding shall only be allowed under the following circumstances:

  • (i) welding, cutting, and grinding associated with welding activities shall not take place when the wind is over 15 miles per hour;
  • (ii) all easily cleared grass, leaves, brush and other easily combustible materials must be cleared with a twenty (20) foot radius surrounding the area where activity is to take place before any welding, cutting or grinding begins; and,
  • (iii) a spotter with water and a ready pressurized delivery system must be on hand before any welding, cutting or grinding begins and remain on hand until the activity is completed.
attachment-Henderson County

Be careful out there folks. And to all our brave East Texas firefighters, thank you.

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