A drive around Henderson County would reveal a lot of green vegetation and pastures, but it's definitely drying up.

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index on August 1 was a sharp contrast from Henderson County's condition on the first day of July. The county average on the 800 point scale on Thursday was 466, still well below the 575 reading county officials use as a threshold for considering a burn ban.

"It looks like we're gaining from five to 10 or 12 points every day," Fire Marshal Shane Renberg said.

The index is used to assess the risk of fire on a range from zero, the point of no moisture deficiency, to 800, the maximum drought that is possible.

"The rainfall we had early this summer made everything greener longer, which made it grow," Renberg said. "When you have all of that grass and weeds growing longer than they typically do, they're still going to die and be more of a fuel load than we normally have."

On Thursday, the driest part of the county measured 533, while the wettest was 388.

On July 1, the KBDI map for Texas was mostly a sea of blue, indicating wet conditions. Henderson County had an average reading of 138.

On August 1, 2018, the county average was 702. The driest portion measued 741 while the wettest was 643.  

Renberg said a stiff breeze will enhance the fire danger.

"We actually prefer it if people are going to burn brush that they call us and give us a heads up," Renberg said.

That way, if his office starts to get a lot of calls reporting smoke or a possible fire they'll know if it could be caused by someone in the area conducting a proper burn.

"We're into what we normall call our grass fire season," Renberg said. "We been fortunate this year because of the early rain, but we are starting to see a few of them pop up."

Renberg said his office monitors the number of grass fires and conditions each day.

"If it's a red flag warning day you can't burn whether  we're under a burn ban or not," Renberg said. "The winds definitely play a big role in that."

A red flag warning is issued by the National Weather Service to inform area firefighting and land management agencies that conditions are ideal for wildland fire combustion, and rapid spread.

When the county is under a burn ban, it will be posted on the Henderson County website and the fire marshal's Facebook page. They also post when it is removed.

As of Thursday, there were 67 counties under a burn ban in the state. The only one in the eastern part of  the state was in Freestone County.

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