Harris County, Texas – Tuesday, August 8, 2023, Due to excessive heat and drought conditions, Commissioners Court has approved a burn ban, effective immediately, at the recommendation of the Harris County Fire Marshal, for all unincorporated portions of the County.
The burn ban prohibits outdoor burning except in an enclosure that contains all sparks and/ or flames to prevent controlled fires from expanding. Outdoor burning activities authorized by TCEQ; approved ceremonial fires; non-commercial cooking such as backyard cookouts and barbecues are allowed; and welding and other “hot work” performed in accordance with county fire code requirements. The sale or use of fireworks is not affected by the burn ban. Residents are asked to exercise caution by removing combustible materials within 30 feet of any approved or permitted burning.
The Texas Forest Service (TFS) measures drought conditions based on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) scale. KBDI conditions between 600 and 800 have the potential to lead to intense, prolonged wildfires. As of August 8th, Harris County’s average KBDI is 681. Texas counties can implement a burn ban if their KBDI is above 575. 68 percent of Texas counties are currently under a burn ban.
The burn ban will be in effect for 90 days or until TFS determines that Harris County is no longer experiencing a drought.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is Harris County’s chief executive and Director of the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Judge Hidalgo, alongside four county precinct commissioners, oversees a budget of approximately $5 billion that funds services and institutions for the third-largest county in the nation, home to nearly 5 million people. For more information about Harris County and the Office of the County Judge, please visit: cjo.harriscountytx.gov.