Erath County commissioners issued a burn ban Monday during a special meeting to discuss drought conditions, withering vegetation and local ground water supplies.

The drought is expected to climb to the worst rating possible on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index within the next two weeks, according to the Texas Forest Service. The local rating has hovered at 600-700 on the 0-800 scale since July 28.

There are now burn bans in place in Erath and all surrounding counties.

There was only a moderate risk of wildfire Monday according to the Texas Forest Service, although risks have fluctuated from low to very high over the past seven days and are projected to elevate as the drought worsens.

Commissioners also placed restrictions on outdoor activities that produce sparks or flames. Workers, such as welders, are required to have a spotter and a water supply on hand to extinguish a fire before it gets out of hand.

The order will expire in 90 days on Nov. 4 unless rescinded before then.

"I think it's important to know we don't like to impose restrictions on our citizens, but in order to protect the health and safety of life and property, a burn ban is needed now," County Judge Tab Thompson said. "Please become aware and abide by the rules for the good of all."