Posted On: March 27, 2020
The local fire threat is rising following a month-long dry spell that has turned lawns brown and reduced water levels throughout Volusia County.
“The last time we had significant rain was on February 26,” noted Tom Carey, Volusia County’s pollution control manager. “We have only received .05 inches in March, a month when we normally receive over four inches. There is no rain forecast for the next 10 days, and we’re approaching April, which is historically our driest month of the year.”
Carey noted that well water levels have dropped across the county, some significantly.
The U.S. Drought Monitor has listed Volusia County as “abnormally dry,” one step short of declaring a moderate drought.
So, what’s a homeowner to do?
“We encourage residents and business owners to adopt a multi-pronged defense to keep their lawns healthy during the dry spell,” said Brad Burbaugh, director of the University of Florida/Volusia County Extension.
First, he said, follow the county’s irrigation ordinance and water your lawn twice a week, which is sufficient to keep your lawn alive and well. According to the ordinance:
“Mow at the highest recommend setting for your turf species,” Burbaugh added. “St. Augustine is the dominant grass in our area and should be mowed to a height of three to three-and-a-half inches. This will encourage deep rooting and aid in moisture retention.”
He offers these additional lawn care tips:
For more information about lawn care, call the University of Florida/Volusia County Extension at 386-822-5778.
Volusia County’s Keetch-Byram Drought Index is 422, up from 361 a week ago. The drought index measures soil dryness on a scale of 1 to 800, with one being saturation and 800 being desert-dry.
Scott Smoak, a battalion chief with Volusia County Fire Rescue, urges residents to be cautious with outdoor activities and offer these wildfire safety tips:
“If a wildfire threatens your area, listen to the media or a weather radio for messages about the danger,” Smoak said. “Prepare your family, pets and supplies in case you have to evacuate. If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately.”
In short, listen to public safety officials and drive away from fire hazards.
A Facebook post was created yesterday regarding the fire danger. View it at https://tinyurl.com/wnn9bj9.