Recent rainfall and the prediction for more in coming days mean that Flagler County’s burn ban will expire on Monday, though restrictions have already eased. The burn ban has been in place since May 1 and was enforced throughout the county, including its municipalities. It banned so much as grilling with charcoal, burning trash or having backyard bonfires.
The drought index briefly dipped below the 400 mark before returning Tuesday to 406, though it is expected to fall again in the next 48 hours. The index ranges between 0 and 800, with 800 marking the driest conditions. It takes an inch of rain to bring the index down by 100 points. It had previously reached the upper 500s in parts of the county. Flagler County received less than 2 inches of rain for the entire month of May.
“The projections for rain over the next couple of days is high, which will further help the index to fall,” Fire Rescue Chief Don Petito said. “The summer afternoon showers seem to be taking hold and are becoming regular occurrences.” The National Weather Service is predicting about 2.5 inches of rain between now and Friday. Parched and yellowed lawns have already returned to green.
“We will have a mixed bag of weather with some heavy rainfall,” said Bob Pickering, Flagler County Emergency Management Technician and a weather expert. “The weather will be changeable through Thursday.”
While the burn ban will be in effect until Monday, Petito said Fire Rescue would begin removing burn ban signs at the end of the week as well as easing restrictions. “Florida Forest Service has already begun to issue some burn permits,” he said. “We should have really nice weather this weekend.”
“The June rainfall total is now at 1.77 inches,” Pickering said. “Chances for precipitation are above normal for the next 14 days.”
Officials still urge using caution with flammable materials outdoors.
“The situation is improving, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security,” Petito said. “We’d ask that residents always use caution with barbecue charcoals and cigarettes. It’s a best practice to make sure that these materials are completely extinguished before discarding them in the proper receptacles.”