County burn ban in effect, Central Texas in moderate drought
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Smoke could be seen for miles beyond Fort Hood Tuesday, when the Fort Hood Natural Resources Management Branch was conducting controlled burning on the southwest side of the Fort Hood range to clear out underbrush, as announced by the Fort Hood Press Center.
In contrast on Monday, Coryell County Judge John Firth issued a statement that effective sunrise on Tuesday, the ban on outdoor burning imposed on Dec. 11, 2017 was reinstated and will remain in effect until sunset on Monday, January 22 when the Commissioners’ Court will reassess the risk of controlled burning.
Conditions remain dry throughout much of north, central, and East Texas, with Coryell County and other surrounding counties meeting criteria for moderate drought conditions.
Compared to one year ago, conditions are worse statewide and have continued a pattern of drying, as per the United States Drought Monitor, updated weekly.
During the first week of January 2017, only 6.29 percent of the state was considered in moderate drought.
For the first week of 2018, those numbers are 33.56 percent. Still, 33.37 percent of Texas is not experiencing any drought at this time, unlike 81.50 percent in 2017.
Despite what the U.S. Drought Monitor calls moderate drought, Lake Belton, from which the City of Copperas Cove gets its water via the Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1, is at 91.7 percent capacity.
Statewide, water capacity has been on a downward trend since October when compared with 2016, and so far for January, lakes and reservoirs are at 82 percent capacity. Presently, Lake Georgetown is the only lake in the Brazos River Authority that is under a stage 1 drought watch.