drought
5:29 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

Burn Bans Lifted Across Central Texas

As rain gradually rehydrates Central Texas, counties are tentatively lifting their burn bans. Williamson County commissioners decided today to lift a ban for one week.

Travis County Commissioners voted two weeks ago to cancel a ban that had been in effect for virtually a year. Today, they agreed to keep the ban lifted.

Across Central Texas, burn bans have been abolished in Hays, Caldwell, Guadalupe, Comal, Blanco, and Burnet Counties. Even Bastrop, a county ravaged by wildfire in September, voted to lift its burn ban last week.

The Texas Forest Service says burn bans are in effect in fewer than 136 of the state’s 254 counties.

But Texas still has a long way to go before it recovers from the worst one-year drought in the state’s history. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map says that 83 percent of Texas is still experiencing a severe dry spell, although the percentage of the state under the most intense drought category has dropped to about half. A new map is due out Thursday.

Lake Travis is still 41 feet below its monthly average, and Lake Buchanan is 23 feet below normal, according to the Lower Colorado River Authority. And the forecast for the next week calls for a chance of drizzle at most.