Commissioners approve 90-day burn ban; issue welding guidelines


A 90-day burn ban was approved by Wood County Commissioners Friday morning.

The order prohibiting burning states “all outdoor burning is prohibited in the unincorporated area of Wood County for 90 days from the date of adoption (Aug. 10) of this order, unless the restrictions are terminated earlier based on a determination made by Texas Forest Service or this court.”

Wood County Fire Marshal Tully Davidson sent out guidelines for welding during the ban. Welding operations shall be prohibited with the exception of welding operations conducted under the following guidelines:

1. A 30’ area clear of any combustible materials where welding, cutting or grinding operations are being performed;

2. A 30’ area clear of any combustible materials is required with an enclosure that is covered;

3. Anything elevated above 20’ - the radius will increase by two feet for every elevated foot;

4. Surface around area will be wetted down;

5. Wind speed must be less than 15 mph (maximum);

6. Relative humidity must be above 30 percent;                       

7. One fire guard watching with pressurized extinguishers on site for every person welding, cutting, or grinding; 

8. Each site will have cellular telephone communications for emergency response;

9. All welding, cutting and grinding operations may be performed in a total welding enclosure, or “welding box,” that is sufficiently high enough to control sparks and includes a fire retardant cover over the top. Wind speeds must not exceed 30 mph while utilizing an enclosure.

Where welding (above ground and sub-surface) is required in an area where there is potential for a hazardous atmosphere, barriers will be substituted for total enclosures (e.g. “wind walls”) to prevent sparks from coming in contact with any combustible material. The barriers will be installed to allow ventilation of the work area and ingress and egress to the work area for personnel safety. Sub-surface, or “bell hole” welding and grinding operations within approved excavations are allowed if all other mitigation efforts are included.

In other matters, commissioners acted on seven personnel requests. In the Wood County Sheriff’s Office, Barbara Cox was hired to fill the dispatcher’s post left by Kelly Jo Stamport and will be paid $18.27 per hour. Alderson Franklin, Jr. will replace Billy Hills as a deputy sheriff at $21.05 per hour and Jesse Rodriguez resigned his post as a jailer at Wood County Jail.

Other personnel matters included hiring Kimberly Carpenter part-time in the District Judge’s office at $12 per hour. In the elections office, Rachel Goldthorn was moved from part-time to full-time secretary at $16.54 per hour. In Precinct #3, seasonal temporary helpers Everin Gipson and Theodore Wells resigned their positions.

Commissioners further approved:

• Payroll of $329,109.66; health and dental payments of $91,944.16; and accounts payable of $246, 756.31.

• A revised longevity pay policy.

• Constable reports.

• A revision of Lots 446 and 447R, Section 9 within the Holly Lake Ranch subdivision into one lot.