Bastrop County works to prevent another wildfire

The dry conditions have forced Bastrop County to declare a state of disaster. Emergency officials say the county could be one spark away from another wildfire.

Florence Neal lives in Bastrop County. She remembers the wildfires in 2011 that ravaged thousands of acres of land.

“We saw the smoke, we were wondering, because it was huge,” said Neal.

Neal says she knows how swiftly a fire can move.

“I've seen a fire, when it takes off, it goes,” said Neal.

In response to the consecutive dry days in Central Texas, Bastrop County is not taking things lightly.

“County Judge Paul Pape decided that there was a significant threat that could be caused by a wildfire,” said Mike Fischer, Bastrop County Emergency Management Coordinator.

The judge declared a state of disaster and placed the county under a burn ban. Strong winds, no rain and plenty of consistent heat cooks up a recipe for disaster.

“We've had an abundance of rain in May, and now it's been six weeks without a drop of rain,” said Fischer.

The ban is forbidding open burning meaning no burning debris or brush piles in the open.

“Any sort of outdoor burning on the ground that's not in an enclosure,” said Fischer.

Barbecue plans? You're in the clear. Residents like Neal are hoping folks can heed the warning.

“Those people who ignore it, they do it at their own risk,” said Neal.

As Central Texas hopes for some rain, Bastrop County is taking precautions in the meantime. They could be one spark away from history repeating itself.

“Any little spark getting into the dry grass is going to cause it,” said

The sole purpose of this declaration is to mitigate or prevent wildfires from happening. This is the first burn ban the county has issued this year. Other counties like Travis, Hays and Williamson have already issued burn bans.

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