Breakdown: What are “dry fuels” and why do they pose a threat?

Published: Oct. 8, 2022 at 10:32 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Have you watched a weather forecast recently wondered what it means when we say “dry fuels?”

Dry fuels have been a big part of the forecast as of late. It simply refers to wildland vegetation, such as grasses, shrubs and trees.

Fire behavior is highly sensitive to the moisture content of these fuels. When moisture content is high, fires are difficult to ignite, and burn poorly if at all.

With little moisture in the fuel, fires start easily, and wind and other driving forces may cause rapid and intense fire spread.

As a result, many Mid-South counties have issued burn bans:

Burn Bans in effect for the counties in red as of 5 AM CT Saturday, Oct 8, 2022
Burn Bans in effect for the counties in red as of 5 AM CT Saturday, Oct 8, 2022(WMC)

Burn Bans can change on a day-to-day basis, so it’s important to watch for updates from your local county governments for any changes.

As of this writing (October 8, 2022), Moderate and Severe droughts encompass portions of the Mid-South.

The last time it rained in Memphis* was September 10.

  • *Specifically at the Memphis International Airport
Drought Monitor as of October 8, 2022
Drought Monitor as of October 8, 2022(WMC)

The Drought Monitor is updated every Thursday.

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