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Drought and fireworks don’t mix!

Keetch Byram Drought Index (KBDI) for Florida 28 June 2011

Keetch Byram Drought Index (KBDI) for Florida 28 June 2011

PATRICK AFB, Fla. --      Despite the rains over the past two weeks, Brevard County is still in a drought.
     The average Keetch Byram Drought Index (KBDI) for Brevard County was 482 on June 28, according to the Florida Division of Forestry. That's a moderate to high risk of wildfires.
     The KBDI is higher  than this average over much of the county, especially in southern Brevard and along most of the coast. Most of the rain earlier in the recent two weeks of  precipitation was in the northern part of the County.
     More recently, the sea breeze front off the Atlantic Ocean has pushed many of the thunderstorms inland. The KBDI was as high as 696 in one spot in South Central Brevard on June 28, just below an extreme fire hazard.
     Brevard County has banned private fireworks because of the fire risk. Public sanctioned displays by professional fireworks operators are still allowed.
     The ban will be repealed when the KBDI falls below 450, which may happen by Independence Day.
     Do not use private fireworks while this ban is in place.
     First, it's the law. You can be cited for using private fireworks during the ban.
     Second, if you start a fire, even accidentally, you could be held financially liable for any damage, or even arrested and held criminally responsible.
     Third, it's just wrong. Imagine destroying someone's home or even killing a person, just because your fun was more important than obeying the ban.
     Fourth, even if there was no ban, some private fireworks are dangerous, especially if misused. Consider the risk of burns, maiming, or even death, to you or your children before you decide to use private fireworks. Go see the public shows instead - they're more  spectacular anyway. 
     The KBDI measures how much moisture is in the soil that is available to plants. It is  strongly related to risk of wildfire - the drier the soil, the drier the fuel, and the higher the risk of wildfire. 
     The KBDI varies from 0 to 800. A KBDI of 0 means 8 inches or more of liquid water is  available in the soil; think swamp. A KBDI of 800 means no water is in the soil; think extreme
desert.
     The KBDI can vary considerably over short distances. For example, parts of Kennedy Space Center had a KBDI of 150 on June 28, while parts of Cape Canaveral AFS are as high as 675. The wildfire risk varies from low to severe extreme over just 15 miles. Drought and
Drought and fireworks don't mix! 
     Weather safety training is available from the 45th Weather Squadron, especially lightning
safety and hurricane preparedness, william.roeder@patrick.af.mil, 853-8410.