Anderson County Judge Carey McKinney signed an emergency declaration Wednesday afternoon, reinstating the countywide burn ban after volunteer fire departments responded to a handful of grass fires.

The declaration covers seven days at which time the commissioners’ court as a whole must vote to extend it.

Six days earlier, McKinney had lifted the ban which has been on again and off again as the county tries to recover from an exceptionally dry 2005.

The City of Palestine has received 6.28 inches through the first 39 days of the year.

In the past 2 1/2 weeks, the burn ban has now been lifted twice and reinstated an equal number of times.

“They had about three or four grass fires yesterday (Wednesday) when the wind picked up,” McKinney said this morning. “I decided to put it back on after talking to Troy Case with the Texas Forest Service.”

Anderson County has an 80 percent chance of showers Friday, most likely beginning in the afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

“If we get rain this weekend, I’ll pull it back off,” said McKinney, who signed the declaration reinstituting the ban around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Winds, however, up to 20 miles per hour are forecast for much of East Texas Saturday as an arctic blast moves into the area which could keep high temperatures around 40.

“The wind’s getting up again and everything’s dry,” McKinney said. “The grass is starting to green up, but it isn’t quite there.”

Palestine Fire Marshal Alan Wilcher reminded citizens that outdoor burning is prohibited within the city limits of Palestine based on the rules of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

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