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Fire Weather Index

September 26, 2012, 6:24 PM by Scot Mundt

Fire Weather Index

From Sioux Falls to Rapid City, fire weather meteorologists are watching conditions closely. And until we receive widespread, heavy moisture they'll be monitoring what is known as the Keetch-Byram Drought Index or KBDI.

It measures the amount of precipitation needed to return the soil to full saturation.  It uses a system rating of zero to 800, which represents the moisture amount of zero to eight inches of water.  It's what is needed to reduce the drought index to zero, which is saturation.

Much of KELOLAND is at 500 or above. The KBDI of 400 to 600 is typical of late summer and early fall.

When it gets to 600 and above, that's when intense, deep burning fires can be expected with an emphasis on downwind new fires occuring.

The highest spots are in south central, north central and northeast South Dakota.  Just this week, the area near Lake Andes is also considered at 800.

It's an important number to know this time of year, whether you're harvesting or off road for hunting.

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