Ector County leaders vote to lift burn ban amid extreme heat

Local News

WEST ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar) – Extreme heat is taking its hold on Ector County.

For Moses Estrada and his two kids, it’s a pool type of day.

“I don’t think no one in Texas likes the cold,” Estrada laughs. “I’m pretty sure we’re happy to come back to our nice 100-hundred degree, 90-degree weather.”

With temperatures reaching triple digits this week, that only means staying hydrated, keeping cool, and not over-doing it in the heat.

“I mean you gotta stay in a place in the shade,” said Nancy Carrasco. “The little one stays in their little swimming pool. We’re out here watering… We go back inside and stay cool.”

Yet, despite the heat, Ector County commissioners voted to lift the burn ban that was put in place on March 23rd of this year. It was set to expire later this month. Now, Ector County residents can burn things like tree limbs on their property.

“If you’re going to be out burning and doing that on your property, make sure you prepare ahead of time,” said Mike Gardner, Ector Co. Commissioner of Precinct 1. “Don’t just light a match and set it on fire. Make sure you got water there available.”

Mike says the decision to lift the ban was based on a few factors, like rainfall, data from the Texas Forest Service, and cooperation with the local fire department.

Over at the West Odessa Volunteer Fire Department, the burn ban flag is expected to come down soon.

“If you’re gonna burn, be aware of your surroundings, what you’re burning,” said Austin Harden, senior firefighter at the West Odessa Volunteer Fire Department. “Keep control of your burning, and always have a water source readily available.”

Here are some good pointers when burning:

Don’t leave your fire unattended, don’t burn near a house or a shed, and don’t burn beyond your means.

“Burn it in sections. Don’t just try and light in one big pile,” Harden said. “Basically, you get a lot of rain, residents out here will come to the conclusion, we have a lot of rain, we can burn, it’s safe. Unfortunately, the ground out here with the sand and caliche, it absorbs the water really quick. The fire hazard returns just as fast.”

For West Odessa, an area that has seen large fires, the concern of fire danger is still revelant.

“It’s so dry right now, anything can catch on fire,” Carrasco said.

“As long as everybody is being responsible with what they do with the fire, and if they put it out, it’s all good,” Estrada said. “But, more fun for the summer.”

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