By GREG RUSSELL, Register Staff Writer
Gainesville Daily Register
Cooke County commissioners declined imposing a burn ban during Monday’s regular meeting, but residents are still urged to observe the area’s drought conditions.
Fire Marshal Ray Fletcher cited the county’s average Keetch-Byram Drought Index number of 598. The county, he said, is in a state of severe drought, though not currently worsening in a manner that would require an outdoor burning restriction.
“Our fire conditions are much like a normal winter right now,” Fletcher said Monday. “They’re not terribly difficult to control and not getting out of hand.”
Fletcher advised commissioners to take no action on imposing a burn ban; the action item is set to be on the next meeting’s agenda. But he added that residents should consider incoming cold fronts — which tend to bring strong winds — before burning outdoor items such as brush piles.
“That stays hot for up to a week or two, and can get a fire going on a high-wind day,” Fletcher said. “They have to be abundantly cautious, as they would in any winter.”
Other meeting highlights:
• Commissioners approved the resubdivision of lots 31, 32 and 33 in Section 6 of Whispering Hills Estates in Moss Lake.
• Commissioners approved an increase of the fiscal year 2013 budget percentage for the Cooke County Jail.
• Commissioners approved these consent agenda items: fiscal years 2012 and 2013 budget amendments; monthly bills; payroll and related expenses; a one-year membership between Cooke County and CareFlite; a one-year contract between Cooke County Justice Center and Commissary Express; $25 in research donations to Cooke County Library; sheriff’s office bonds; surplus of a 2005 Chevy pickup with the option for trade-in or auction of vehicle; a contract with the Moss Lake Volunteer Fire Department; filing of quarterly audits for the Cooke County treasurer and district attorney; bid specificiations for inmate phone service at the Cooke County Justice Center; and an advertisement for bids for inmate phone service at the Cooke County Justice Center.