South Florida wildfire risks remain despite Sunday deluge

The Florida Forest Service is warning that Sunday’s deluge was not enough to alleviate the region’s wildfire risk.

Despite as much as 6 inches falling in some areas of Palm Beach County during the 24-hour period beginning Sunday at 7 a.m., it is one of 22 counties under a burn ban as 100 wildfires remain active statewide.

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index, which measures drought on a 0-to-800 scale with 800 being desert-like and 0 being saturated ground, had a mean index for Palm Beach County of 414, but parts were as high as 647.

According to AccuWeather:

Fort Myers set a new daily rainfall record for Sunday when 2.10 inches of rain fell. West Palm Beach received 3.50 inches of rain, which is close to the normal rainfall for all of April of 3.66 inches.

The rain helped to moisten dry vegetation and put a damper on fires and smoke in the area, including the 30th Avenue Fire burning in Collier County which is now 50 percent contained.

“While the rain put a dent in the drought, the fire danger will increase once again prior to the summer’s rainy season as the upcoming prolonged dry spell will gradually dry out the region’s vegetation,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.


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