THE BLOG

Rains, Cooler Temps Ease Wildfire Concerns In Texas

12/09/2011 12:38 pm ET | Updated Feb 08, 2012

Johnson County, Texas hasn't had a burn ban in effect for three weeks, the ban's longest rescindment since one was enacted in early spring.

Wetter weather has cooled and hydrated Texas slightly, allowing for other counties to also lift their bans. At the end of summer, 98 percent of Texas, including Johnson County, was under exceptional drought conditions, the most servere condition. As of last week, conditions improved in some parts of Texas, with about 20 counties lifting their respective bans, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Recent rains persuaded Johnson County commissioners to rescind the ban on Nov. 14 and additional rain has allowed the ban to remain lifted.

"I'm always keeping an eye on drought monitors and forecasts," said County Judge Roger Harmon. "There's a lot of people in the county that need the ban lifted and whenever we see an opportunity to lift it, we will."

As county judge, Harmon has the authority to lift or enact a ban as he deems necessary.

Texas recorded the driest October (2010) through September (2011) period on record since 1895, but a steady flow of rain that began in October prevented conditions from worsening. Historically, winter is the driest time of the year.

"A continuous pattern of rain near to above normal precipitation that started in mid-September has really helped the state," said Mark Fellows, a drought center spokesman. "That's really beneficial as we head into the winter months."

Read more here at The Cleburne Times-Review