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County officials monitoring weather conditions


Last updated 1/21/2014 at Noon

Orange County Commissioners along with Jeff Kelley, Director of Emergency Management, will be monitoring reports closely to determine if a burn ban will be needed in the future.

During the commissioners court meeting on Monday, he was already looking at weather conditions and reports. On the Forecast Danger Map, Orange County is slated to be in “high” danger. In addition, the U.S. Drought Monitor indicated Orange County may face severe drought conditions.

A burn ban was not necessary, although the KDBI stats are “High, but not dangerously high” at this time, Kelley said.

The Keetch-Byram drought index (KBDI) is a continuous reference scale for estimating the dryness of the soil and duff layers. The index increases for each day without rain. The amount of increase depends on the daily high temperature and decreases when it rains. The scale ranges from 0 (no moisture deficit) to 800. The range of the index is determined by assuming that there is 8 inches of moisture in a saturated soil that is readily available to the vegetation.

“It’s looking bad,” Kelley said referring to the forecast.

Sabrina Gray, event manager for the Orange County Convention Center, submitted a logo for approval. It was a circle with a pineapple in the center. She said the pineapple is a symbol for hospitality. Commissioners balked at the idea and said they wanted to see something with an orange to symbolize Orange County in the picture. They suggested a basket of oranges with a pineapple in the center. Gray will return to court with the updated logo in the future. She said she hopes to have it approved within the next few weeks so she can use the logo on the Orange County web site.

Although not on the agenda, Dr. Dale Fritz made quick presentation on the job position vacated by Paula Tacker, of the Orange County Extension office. Fritz requested permission to fill the open position. Tacker’s job duties included nutrition services, the food service management program, senior rally day and assisting with the 4-H program among other things. The job opening will be posted internally for two weeks before becoming open to the public. Fritz hopes to return to commissioners court in the near future with a potential job candidate for approval from the court.


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