County Asks Residents to Help Prevent Wildfires | News
BARTOW, FL – Polk County Fire Rescue officials are asking residents to participate in a voluntary burn ban.
“Dry vegetation and current weather conditions are favorable for the rapid development and spread of brush fires,” said Polk County Fire Rescue Chief David Cash.
Residents are asked to refrain from burning trash, yard debris, campfires and bonfires. If burning cannot be avoided, use extreme caution, have extinguishing mechanisms nearby and do not leave fires unattended.
“If weather conditions do not improve and there is not significant rain, we will likely revisit the possibility of issuing a mandatory, countywide burn ban next week,” Cash said.
According to the Division of Forestry Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) figures, Polk is currently at an index average of 539. The KDBI index helps officials determine the likelihood and severity of brush fires. The scale begins at zero (no danger) and rises to 800 (extreme danger). Fire officials become concerned any time the scale goes above 500 for 50 percent of the county.
While high KDBI values indicate favorable conditions or the occurrence and spread of wildfires, drought is not, by itself, a prerequisite for such fires. Other weather factors, such as wind, temperature, relative humidity and atmospheric stability, play major roles in determining the actual fire danger.