Indian River County ranked driest in state according to drought index

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The lack of rainfall during rainy season has led to Indian River County being named the driest county in the state and in danger of wildfires, the Florida Division of Forestry announced Tuesday.

“With the lack of substantial rainfall from the past couple of weeks, the Treasure Coast has become one of the driest areas in the state of Florida,” Melissa Yunas, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist with the Florida Division of Forestry said in a press release.

According to the Keetch Bryam Drought Index, a drought measurement ranking from 0 to 800, the County comes in at 649. Last year at this time the County stood at 500 and in 2007 at 172. The rest of the Treasure Coast did not fare much better with St. Lucie County at 614 Martin County coming in at 564. Okeechobee County registered a 630 on the scale. The Keetch Bryam Index considers an 800 ranking to be prime drought condition.

The normal range for Indian River County at this time of year is 271-420.

“The Florida Division of Forestry is asking everyone to be cautious and use common sense when it comes to using anything that can cause a spark,” Yunas said. “The grass and underbrush is dry and can ignite easily.”

The top cause of wildfires in Florida this time of year is people, Yunas pointed out.

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