Burn ban violations leading to fires in Clay Co.

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Clay County is one of 14 counties under a burn ban in Texoma, but not everyone is obeying it.

A handful of fires have led to the loss of land and one person's car and home.

Just last week there were 11 fires in the county. Citations were issued for three of them.

"It just takes a spark right now," Emergency Management Coordinator, Billy Carlton said. "One ember getting loose could turn into another disaster like the Bastrop fire, the Ringgold fire, the Bellevue fire."

The burn ban was issued in January in hopes of preventing fires like these. Since it went into effect, there have been ten violations and seven tickets.

"When we go out on a fire, if it's questionable we just try to explain to them why the burn ban is in effect and why we're doing what we're doing," Carlton said.

One woman burning trash near Lake Arrowhead suffered the consequences.

"It burned her trailer house down," Carlton said. "She lost her car, and I believe there were three outbuildings from the neighbors that they lost in that fire."

The winds have been so strong and humidity levels so low that it even affected a family following the ban.

"They were burning in their barbeque pit," Carlton said. "But the bottom of the barbeque pit rusted out and all the ashes fell out on the ground and burnt two lots at Lake Arrowhead on the west side."

Because of that, Carlton is asking that no one burn anything outside until this Friday at the earliest. His message to those in the county is to follow the burn ban and if you see smoke, report it.

"Even if they don't know where it's at, if they can give the dispatch a general idea, they will have deputies, my office, and even the fire departments out looking for it," he said.

Tuesday morning Clay County Commissioners extended the burn ban 30 days. They said they will re-evaluate the situation in a month.

Carlton urges people to call his office if they have any questions about what can and cannot be burned. He added that despite the violations, most people are following the burn ban.

Copyright 2018 RNN Texoma All Rights Reserved