Since the Erath County Commissioners Court voted to lift the county- wide burn that had been in effect following a disaster declaration by Gov. Rick Perry, county residents have taken full advantage of the opportunity to burn.

The ban was lifted during Monday’s meeting of the court and since that time, area firefighters have been busy battling fires that have ignited from controlled burns.

According to Chief Kenneth Howell of Erath County Volunteer Fire Rescue, in the last few days alone, firefighters have responded to 14 fire calls. Howell said that eight fires broke out on Saturday, four on Tuesday and two more had ignited as of press time Wednesday.

Erath County Judge Tab Thompson said Wednesday that he did not feel that the rash of fires would have an immediate effect on the ban and explained that such a decision would have to be made by the commissioner’s court as a whole.

“We are trying to give citizens an opportunity to burn,” Thompson said. “Just because the ban is lifted does not mean that the threat (of fire) doesn’t exist. We urge everyone to use extreme caution and judgment every time they light a match. If you are going to burn, please burn responsibly.”