Keetch-Byram Drought Index

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) is a mathematical system for relating current and recent weather conditions to potential or expected fire behavior. This system was originally developed for the southeastern United States and is based primarily on recent rainfall patterns.

The KBDI is the most widely used drought index system by fire managers in the south. It is also one of the only drought index systems specifically developed to equate the effects of drought with potential fire activities.

The result of this system is a drought index number ranging from 0 to 800 which accurately describes the amount of moisture that is missing. A rating of zero defines the point where there is no moisture deficiency and 800 is the maximum drought possible.

Expected Fire Conditions & Suppression Problems

  1. 0 to 200: Low
  2. 200 to 400: Moderate
  3. 400 to 600: High
  4. 600 to 800: Extreme

Index of 0 to 200: Low Fire Danger

Soil and fuel moisture is high. 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.

Burn Ban Information

A burn ban is an emergency declaration put out by the Commissioners Court and the County Judge which prohibits any outdoor burning or open flame. This is brought about through recommendations of the Fire Marshal, forest service, and weather service. In addition, a scale (Keetch-Byram Drought Index) is used, which measures the moisture in the soil that is directly proportional to that found in vegetation.

For additional information, please visit the Texas Forest Service website.

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