Burn Ban for Harris County

Dangerously dry weather conditions and a recommendation by the fire marshal lead Harris County Commissioners to issue a fire ban. Also, commissioners approved a tax increase for the Port of Houston. Pat Hernandez tells us what that means.

Harris County became the state’s 67th county to adopt a ban that prohibits outdoor burning for the next 90-days. This is Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

“Obviously, we’ve been in a drought and whenever the fire marshal comes and says we need a burn ban, we take that pretty seriously and it’s not the first time we’ve done it. We do it periodically. It’s the nature of living in Texas I guess.”

Judge Emmett says under the ban, residents may not burn any leaves or household waste unless it’s in a container.

“No outdoor burning. You can use barbecue grills, as long as it’s not in a position where sparks can fly and hit anything that’s loose, but no outdoor burning.”

Meanwhile, after three public comment periods, Commissioners approved a tax increase for the Port of Houston that will not affect the overall Harris County tax rate. It will help pay off a 250-million dollar bond package that voters approved three years ago. Dan Seal is with the Bay Area-Houston Economic Partnership.

“We are always in favor of doing things that help build our infrastructure, and the Port of Houston is a key item of our business infrastructure to help the Houston area to continue to grow.”
He says the Port helps Houston maintain a global economic presence.

“From London to Paris, to New York City to Houston — all of the great global cities have strong ports, and so it’s important to continue the growth of the Port of Houston as well.”

Much of the money raised from the port tax rate increase will help fund the expansion of the Bayport Container Terminal, a major deep water port in Texas.