Parts of Nueces County are under an outdoor burn ban for the next 90 days.
The order, which was approved Nov. 12 at a Nueces County Commissioners Court meeting, restricts outdoor burning activities, such as trash and brush burning, for unincorporated areas of the region.
County officials said last week that the western part of the county, which includes Robstown, has become increasingly dry, according to the Keetch Byram Drought Index. The drought index ranges from 0 to 800, where a drought index of 0 represents no moisture depletion, and an index of 800 represents absolutely dry conditions.
The KBDI is a tool which is used to determine forest fire potential and is based on a daily water balance, where a drought factor is balanced with precipitation and soil moisture and is expressed in hundredths of an inch of soil moisture depletion.
Tyner Little, executive assistant to the county judge, said last week the county was measuring 505 on the KBDI.
The ruling by county commissioners, while good for trash and brush burning, does not ban aerial fireworks. The county has until its next scheduled meeting Dec. 17 to decide whether or not to ban aerial fireworks ahead of the New Year's holiday.
The county had banned aerial fireworks in June ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, but portions of the county had a KBDI of about 630.
The state of Texas last year raised the benchmark counties must meet on the KBDI to 575. County officials said they would wait to see if the KBDI increases over the next few weeks before attempting to issue an aerial fireworks ban.
The burn ban passed by the county only pertains to areas of the county outside any city limits. Areas like Banquete and Petronilla, however, also fall under the jurisdiction of the burn ban, county officials said.
The ban will expire in February, when county leaders can decide whether or not conditions warrant an extension.