The Florida Forest Service is the lead agency for the suppression of these fires. To learn the most current information on the status of wildfires throughout the State, click the logo below.
Listed at this link are several suggestions which you can implement immediately to protect your house from wild fire. Others may need to be considered at the time of construction or remodeling. You should also contact the City of North Port Fire Rescue District, Building Department or Florida Forest Service about local fire laws, building codes and protection measures. Obtain local building codes and weed abatement ordinances for structures built near wooded areas.
For information on how to make your home FireWise, click the logo.
Keetch Byram Drought Index
The Keetch-Byram drought index (KBDI) is a continuous reference scale used by the Division of Forestry for estimating the dryness of the soil and duff layers. The index increases for each day without rain (the amount of increase depends on the daily high temperature) and decreases when it rains. The scale ranges from 0 (no moisture deficit) to 800 (extremely dry). The range of the index is determined by assuming that there is 8 inches of moisture in a saturated soil that is readily available to the vegetation.
For different soil types, the depth of soil required to hold 8 inches of moisture varies (loam=30", clay=25" and sand=80"). A prolonged drought (high KBDI) influences fire intensity largely because more fuel is available for combustion (i.e. fuels have a lower moisture content). In addition, the drying of organic material in the soil can lead to increased difficulty in fire suppression.
High values of the KBDI are an indication that conditions are favorable for the occurrence and spread of wildfires, but drought is not by itself a prerequisite for wildfires. Other weather factors, such as wind, temperature, relative humidity and atmospheric stability, play a major role in determining the actual fire danger.
Click here for the current KBDI for the State of Florida. To view the KBDI for the district which includes Sarasota County, select Myakka River District just above that map.