Eye on Ellis County

Neal White

As a friendly reminder, the countywide burn ban is still in effect.

And in order to avoid any misunderstanding with the ordinance, itís an all-inclusive law that applies to everyone.

It means no outdoor burning.

No burning trash.

No open fire pits.

No fireworks.

While I havenít heard of anyone being cited for grilling a hamburger on their grill, area fire officials are urging residents to have a charged water hose on standby while grilling just in case an errant spark catches the grass on fire.

Itís that dry.

For those who have been holed up inside an air conditioned building since April, we have now set the record as the third hottest summer on record with no relief in sight as we continue to gain ground on the top two spots.

A state of disaster has been declared for nearly every county in Texas ó including Ellis County ó due to the damage caused by wildfires and the drought.

Itís so dry, last weekend most of the state was actually hoping Tropical Storm Don would make landfall in Texas and bring with it much needed rain.

Itís serious.

Just ask our local firefighters who have been literally hopping from one grass fire to the next ó not only to contain each blaze, but putting their lives on the line in an effort to keep the fire from destroying homes, businesses and buildings.

Due to the heat and drought, itís a tenderbox. All it takes is one spark from an outdoor fire, a carelessly tossed cigarette or even a malfunctioning vehicle to set off a wild fire that puts lives and property in peril.

Most folks understand the danger and abide by the ban ordinance.

For whatever reason, ignorance or hubris, there are a few who think they are above the law.

Unfortunately, the decision to violate the burn ban places themselves and everyone else in danger.

And for the record, the burn ban is not just a suggestion. It does have teeth.

Depending on the severity of the incident, violators are subject to a penalty that ranges from a misdemeanor offense with a $500 fine up to a felony charge with a maximum punishment of a $50,000 fine and prison time.

Until the rain returns and quenches our parched soil, letís all follow the ban.

We all have a role to play in protecting our lives and property.

Neal White is the Editor of Waxahachie Newspapers Inc. Contact Neal at neal.white@wninews.com.