Citing worsening drought conditions, the Travis County Commissioners Court has banned outdoor burning in unincorporated areas of the county.
The county measures moisture using the Keetch-Bryam Drought Index, in which zero represents saturation and 800 represents a complete lack of moisture.
During the court's Aug. 7 meeting, Travis County Fire Marshal Hershel Lee said the average drought index countywide was 447 prior to 10 a.m. and was increasing by an average of 10 to 13 points a day.
"The top 8 inches of grasses and small fuels are drying out quickly," Lee said. "The short-term forecast for the next 10 days are 100-degree temperatures and humidity at 30 to 40 percent. When there is low humidity, fires spread quickly."
Lee said areas in the western part of the county are approaching severe fire danger. He reminded residents to be careful about hot work, such as welding, and to not throw cigarette butts out of cars.