PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - The burn ban for Palm Beach County has been lifted, county fire rescue officials announced this morning.
The decision, made jointly with the state Division of Forestry, means that all July 4 fireworks displays can go off as planned.
The ban, in place since May 12, prohibited all open burning, including recreational and ceremonial fires, in the county. Legal fireworks and sparklers were included in the ban, but, with today's decision, that prohibition is lifted. Barbecuing was not affected by the ban.
The ban was in effect until the Keetch-Byram Drought Index -- used to determine forest fire potential -- dropped below 500. Fire rescue officials said today it has dropped below 300.
The burn ban was imposed for the first time in three years because of the exceptional drought which has gripped the region and the fear that outdoor fires could spark more brush fires.
Recent rains have eased the drought slightly, although the region remains extremely dry.
According to the National Weather Service's West Palm Beach monthly climate report for June, rainfall was way below normal, as expected, and temperatures were slightly above normal.
The 3.19 inches of rain that fell the past 30 days didn't rescue West Palm Beach from the drought - which shouldn't be surprising as meteorologists have been saying relief will require a tropical storm that dumps rain on the region.
"The rainy season pattern started in the second week of June," said National Weather Service Meteorologist Barry Baxter. "So, that's close to a month behind the start of the season."
To have a normal rainfall, June would have needed 4.39 more inches. The greatest amount of rain fell from June 29 through June 30, with 1.05 inches of rain.
June had two days of record-breaking temperatures. On June 14, a high of 98 degrees broke the 1998 record of 95 degrees, and on June 13 a high of 96 degrees broke the 1998 record of 95 degrees. There were 11 days of temperatures above 90 degrees.
The month's lowest temperature was on June 16 with 73 degrees. The average for the month was 84.2 degrees, which is three degrees higher than normal.
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