HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (CW39) Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has issued a burn ban days before the July 4th holiday.

Hidalgo took to Twitter to announce the ban with the following:

A burn ban is now in effect in Harris County. We’re at risk of wildfires with a drought index of 681 compared to ~300 June 2021. No outdoor burning other than grilling or welding. Please be careful. In a drought, sparks, cigarette butts, etc. can burn quickly. Report fires to 911.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

There are now 171 Texas counties with burn bans, including Harris, Galveston, Waller, Fort Bend, Brazoria and Liberty counties. 

“Unprecedented temperatures and a lack of rain has elevated KBDI levels for this time of the year” said Fire Marshal Laurie L. Christensen. “Although we have seen some rain, it’s not enough to lower the drought index levels across the county.

“Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security with rain in parts of Harris County – the vegetation fuels are high due to drought conditions in not only open areas but, residential properties and roadways adjacent to grass and brush.”

Texas Drought Index (Texas A&M Agrilife)

While the burn ban will not affect the sales of fireworks in Harris County, authorities encourage everyone to dispose of the fireworks properly, including having water nearby in case of emergencies and soaking used fireworks before throwing them in the trash.