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Hays County still under burn ban

By Megan Wehring 

HAYS COUNTY – Wildfires have been common this summer with severe drought conditions, leaving Hays County to be in a steady burn ban. 

But Hays County is not alone – nearly all of Texas is in a burn ban, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service Burn Ban Web Map.

Photo courtesy of Texas Weather Connection
Nearly the entire state of Texas is in a high KBDI.

Fire Marshal Mark Wobus provided an update on the current burn ban at the Aug. 9 Hays County Commissioners Court meeting. Wobus shared with the court that the county has a Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) of 749 – but as of Aug. 12, it has jumped to 752.90. KBDI is an index used to determine forest fire potential, according to Texas Weather Connection. The drought index is based on a daily water balance, where a drought factor is balanced with precipitation and soil moisture (assumed to have a maximum storage capacity of 8-inches) and is expressed in hundredths of an inch of soil moisture depletion. The 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. “We are at that point in our drought where we are just barely ticking up a number or two per day [on the KBDI],” Wobus said. “The driest area of the county, the north and the west, are at 777. The KBDI stops at 800, so we are approaching that point very fast.”

About Author

Megan Navarro (formerly Wehring) graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. In June 2020, she started a summer internship at the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch through the Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association. She then earned her way to a reporter position later that summer and now, she serves as the editor of the newspaper. Working for a small publication, Navarro wears multiple hats. She has various responsibilities including managing a team of reporters, making editorial decisions, overseeing social media posts, fact checking, writing her own articles and more. Navarro has a heart for storytelling and she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are important to the community.

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