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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Its getting drier in VA, Virginia's engine crew in the news, firefighters injured in OK

It’s getting significantly dry in portions of Virginia. The drought index that is used by the Virginia Department of Forestry, called the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) is over the 10 year average for this time of year in all areas. In ½ of our areas the index is over 500 and at this level we, the VDOF, stop all prescribed burning operations and recommend to others that they do the same.

SALEM-     KBDI: 581
ABINGDON -     KBDI: 545

The KBDI, specifically developed to equate the effects of drought with potential fire activities, is the most widely used system by fire managers in the southeastern United States. This mathematical system for relating current and recent weather conditions to potential or expected fire behavior results in a drought index number ranging from 0 to 800. This number accurately describes the amount of moisture that is missing; a rating of 0 defines a point of no moisture deficiency and 800 defines the maximum drought possible.

These KBDI numbers correlate with potential fire behavior:
0 - 200 Soil and fuel have a high moisture content. Most fuels will not readily ignite or burn. However, with sufficient sunlight and wind, cured grasses and some light surface fuels will burn in spots and patches.
200 - 400 Fuels more readily burn, and fire can move across an area with no “gaps.” Heavier fuels do not readily ignite and burn. Smoldering and the resulting smoke to carry into and possibly through the night.
400 - 600 Fire intensity significantly increases. Fire readily burns in all directions exposing mineral soils in some locations. Larger fuels may burn or smolder for several days creating possible smoke and control problems.
600 - 800 Fire burns to mineral soil. Stumps will burn to the end of underground roots and spotting will be a major problem. Fires will burn through the night and heavier fuels will actively burn and contribute to fire intensity.

 The engine crew on Virginia's 4th rotation to NC was featured on a news story last night.
Check it out! You can click on the video below or go to the following link

Oklahoma City wildfire sends three firefighters to hospital
Eighty acres burned in an intense firefight that lasted about five hours. Two Oklahoma City firefighters were taken to hospitals for heat exhaustion, and a third suffered second-degree burns on his hands.

Smokey gets a year older next week. What could be a better gift than to do your part and not leta wildfire start. ONLY YOU CAN. Its been a long and HOT and busy wildfire summer he sure could use a break.



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