Volunteer Fire Departments Struggle During the Holidays


From grass fires to burn ban violations, the South Brazos County fire department has stayed busy the last few months.

"Grass fires are racing," South Brazos County Fire Chief Emily Staples said. "They are out of control, and it's taken multiple precincts to put out the fires. We have had more homes in danger this year than we have ever had."

Staples says this could be the case for a while.

Even though the burn ban has been in effect for months, Staples says it’s still needed. She says you can walk outside and see how dry it really is.

She says the dry weather couldn't have come at a worse time. It's during the holidays this small precinct is short staffed.

"We can't tell people not to leave town, not to go to Christmas vacation, not to take holidays, not to go shopping, and we don't have a time when we can say we'll have enough people," Staples said.

So far the precinct has responded to 40 illegal burns, taking time and money, that's why they didn't back the burn ban exception brought up at Tuesday's county commissioners meeting.

"It doesn't take a large fire to create a large fire," Precinct Four Fire Chief Joe Ondrasek said.

It's that large fire that some of these small precincts might not be able to handle. That's why they're urging folks to obey the burn ban.

The burn ban was extended for an additional 90 days in December. Also a ban of all air borne fireworks has been issued for the New Years.


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