The number of East Texas counties under burn bans is on the way up as it has now been a full month since the Pineywoods experienced any significant rainfall. Three to five inches of rain fell during the first few days of September, but not a drop has fallen since.

Combine that with an extremely dry summer and we are right back to the widespread burn bans for our area. The county commissioners for Nacogdoches and Angelina Counties have each ordered their respective counties to institute burn bans.

As of this writing, the East Texas counties under burn bans include:

  • Angelina
  • Nacogdoches
  • Houston
  • Sabine
  • Polk
  • Cherokee
  • Anderson
  • Panola
  • Walker

Given the widespread dryness and the not-so-promising forecast, chances are very good that all counties in Deep East Texas will be under a burn ban within the next week.

Keetch-Byrum Drought Index

Have you ever heard of this?

The Keetch-Byrum Drought Index is an indicator used to determine the potential of a forest fire. According to their website, this 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.

Once you've reached 400, things are starting to get pretty dry in your neck of the woods. Currently, almost every county in Deep East Texas is in the 600-700 range. A few pockets over 700 can be found in Nacogdoches and Anderson Counties.

This index is what many governing bodies use as a guide for the issuance of burn bans.

Even though temperatures should not reach the triple-digit readings from earlier in the summer, the dry conditions along with lower humidities will elevate the potential for wildfire ignition.

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