Weatherford Democrat

December 11, 2012

Burn ban on; some exceptions for welders

Staff Writer
CNHI

PARKER COUNTY — With drought conditions and cold, dry air continuing to grow the threat of wildfire in the state, the Parker County Commissioners Court voted to put the burn ban back in place Monday morning.

The burn ban is set to expire on Jan. 14, 2013, at midnight, unless it is renewed by commissioners court or withdrawn.

Violation of the burn ban is a Class C misdemeanor and could result in a fine of up to $500 plus court costs. Violations include the use of combustible materials, including outdoor welding; however, where welding must be performed in the field, the following mitigating efforts will be in force until the ban has expired:

• All areas where welding, cutting or grinding operations are being performed will be free of vegetation for at least 25 feet in all directions.

• Surface around welding area will be wetted down.

• Wind speeds must be no more than 20 miles per hour while performing welding, cutting or grinding operations outside of barriers or enclosures.

• A dedicated fire watch person will attend each welder, cutter, grinder and any activity that causes a spark.

• A minimum of one water pressure fire extinguisher per fire watch person is required.

• Each site will have cellular telephone communications for emergency response.

• All welding, cutting and grinding operations may be performed in a total welding enclosure, or “welding box,” that is sufficiently high to control sparks and includes a fire retardant cover over the top. Winds speeds must not exceed 30 miles per hour while using an enclosure: where welding (above ground and sub-surface) is required in an area where there is a 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; if an emergency exists where welding has to be performed, the fire marshal may issue a temporary exception to the order.

For more information on the burn ban, visit www.parkercountyemergencymanagement.com.