With temperatures of over 100 degrees, firefighters in Liberty County were up against the temperature and the heat from a 20 acre wildfire. The fire broke out close to 2 pm just south of Plum Grove. Within a short time Plum Grove requested the help of Huffman, Cleveland, Plum Grove, New Caney, Splendora and Tarkington Fire Departments. In addition the Texas Forest Service responded with dozers. The area burning is a new development with several new homes and structures. As the fire spread embers ignited additional blazes as they were carried by high winds. Just before 6 pm the fire was brought under control and crews started mopping up hot spots. In addition to smoke, fire and heat crews battled the heavy dust put out by the sugar sand on the roadways.
With burn bans coming into place in several counties including Houston, Walker and Leon the KBI Index continues to increase.
Montgomery County Fire Marshal Jimmy Williams said he didn’t expect a burn ban in Montgomery County yet but are asking people to use caution or refrain from burning. Montgomery County firefighters also responded to several grass and woods fires this weekend.
Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI)
Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) is an index used to determining forest fire potential. The drought index is based on a daily water balance, where a drought factor is balanced with precipitation and soil moisture (assumed to have a maximum storage capacity of 8-inches) and is expressed in hundredths of an inch of soil moisture depletion.
The drought index ranges from 0 to 800, where a drought index of 0 represents no moisture depletion, and an index of 800 represents absolutely dry conditions. Presently, this index is derived from ground based estimates of temperature and precipitation derived from weather stations and interpolated manually by experts at the Texas Forest Service (TFS) for counties across the state. Researchers at Texas A&M University are working with the TFS to derive this index from AVHRR satellite data and NEXRAD radar rainfall within a GIS.