While the entirety of Walker County is under a burn ban as of yesterday, Thursday’s Firefest will be unaffected.
Brandon Cooper, associate director for student activities, said they works closely with the fire department to ensure a safe event.
“As of right now, everything is still a go,” Cooper said. “We usually have Huntsville Fire Department on site, and we have the necessary permits. We’re just waiting on official word from the fire chief.”
The ban prohibits all outdoor burning, excluding burning activities related to public health and safety and authorized by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Some areas in Walker County fall between 433 and 655 on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index. The KBDI is a 0-800 point index used to determine forest fire potential.
For reference, in the height of the Texas drought in 2011, the index in Walker County peaked at 792 in August that year. Walker County suffered from two major wildfires, burning at least four square miles in 2011.
Walker County Emergency Management Coordinator Butch Davis said the recent low humidity conditions can lead to large fires.
“When the humidity gets lower, it really allows fires to get out of hand,” Davis said.
Violation of the burn ban is a Class C misdemeanor and is punishable up to a $500 fine. The ban is up for review in January.
Sean Smith contributed to this report.