LUBBOCK, Texas – With many surrounding counties under a burn ban, Lubbock County officials said they expect one to take effect sooner than later.

Based on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, Lubbock County sits just below the severe drought category at 668. However, once that number goes above 700, discussions for a burn ban will take place. Lubbock County Judge Curtis Parrish said fire departments and fire chiefs will gather to come up with a cohesive plan for the county.

He said Lubbock County is blessed to have eleven volunteer fire departments, and there’s no doubt they’ve stayed busy this year. Many compare 2022 to 2011 which was one of the worst droughts the county has faced.

Kevin Henricks, the assistant chief for West Carlisle VFD said, “Our call volume has already almost doubled this year from what we saw the previous couple of years. We’ve already used most of our fuel budget for this year that we had for last year.”

If Lubbock County does cross over the severe drought numb, “A violation of a burn ban is a Class C misdemeanor, which is a fine up to $500 per incident,” Judge Parrish explained.

However, there are ways to prevent a fire from getting out of hand. If one wishes to set a controlled burn, they are to notify the Sheriff’s Office or a local volunteer fire department before doing so. This way, they would be prepared and ready in case it does lose control.

Henricks added, “The best way they can protect their property is providing what we call a defensible space. And that’s keeping your weeds and grass trimmed, you know, around your house, keeping it low, and just keeping stuff picked up.”

For more information on current drought conditions, visit the Texas A&M Forest Service Website.