The Rusk County Commissioners Court tabled a potential burn ban Tuesday morning during the regular monthly meeting. 

The number of fire calls rose from just 12 the entire month of July to 15 through Monday, less than halfway through the month.

Rusk County Assistant Emergency Manager Patrick Dooley spoke in favor of the ban, but that was during the public comment and after the agenda item had been tabled. 

“The commissioners don’t want to put the burn ban on, they don’t want to dictate what people do with their trash,” he said. 

“Our concern is with the fire departments and the fires we have going is that people are leaving them sitting there, they are not paying attention to them and the next thing you know that house is on fire, the pasture is on fire; your next door neighbors’ pasture is on fire,” he said.

Dooley also said that discarding a lit cigarette butt was also a high percentage cause for grass fires noting that such a situation could start a three-acre fire in a short period of time. He suggested extinguishing the cigarette prior to discarding it.

The long-term weather forecast calls for rain today, but only about 50 percent of the county may receive a passing shower.

While there are some burn bans to the west of Rusk County, the closest is Freestone County.

County officials cautioned residents about outdoor burning, especially controlled burns of pasture land. Those conducting controlled burns should call the sheriff’s office and register when and where the burn is taking place as to not unnecessarily dispatch firefighters.

A county burn ban, when enacted, would only cover those unincorporated areas of the county.

In other meeting business, commissioners approved a bid from Hunter Heim for a roller with a 50-gallon drum ($150), a 12-foot roller ($150) and a disk with added weight ($150) for the county’s arena.

Commissioners approved an order for a Nov. 5 election citing the state’s constitutional amendments and allowing for any of the small taxing entities or municipalities to reserve a place on the ballot. So far, only the city of Mount Enterprise has called for elections. The registration period is later in the month.

Finally, the court approved a number of department reports for the month.

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