Why register? ...To Enhance Your Experience
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Default Florida...Hot Weather Raises Flag over Wildfire Concerns

    Hot weather sparks fire worries in Central Florida

    By MIKE BRANOM Associated Press
    ORLANDO - As the temperatures rise across the state with summer's onset, fire officials are casting wary eyes to rainless skies.

    Highs in Florida topped 90 degrees Wednesday without a hint of rain. Combined with the usual humidity, heat indexes crept even higher, reaching 100 in parts of Jacksonville.

    It was a typical day in a weather pattern that seized the region over the weekend and won't let go for at least another week, according to meteorologists.

    "I would certainly say if we're not at the peak (of wildfire season), we're still near the peak," said Matt Bragaw, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

    The Florida Division of Forestry has had a light year battling wildfires, as a four-year drought ended last summer. Through Tuesday, exactly 1,000 fires had burned more than 9,300 acres of land.

    That's a quieter pace than in years past, but activity could increase as hot, dry weather turns plants into kindling.

    "Things are better, but it is drying and the winds are up," said Florida Division of Forestry spokesman Paul Palmiotto. "Caution is the key this time of year."

    The driest area of the state runs from North-Central Florida to the Panhandle near the Big Bend. Gulf County is Florida's thirstiest county, according to a measure called the Keetch-Byram Drought Index.

    The hot weather roasting Florida is the result of the annual "Bermuda high" system, a dome of hot air sitting in the southwest Atlantic Ocean during the late spring and early summer. Spinning clockwise, the high forces warm air from the south and southwest across the Florida peninsula where the heat of the land warms it even more.

    "It's a semi-permanent feature that drives the weather throughout the entire summer," Bragaw said.

    There's no indication when the summer rains will begin and diminish the threat of fires.

    "If the wet season were to get a later start, that would certainly exacerbate the conditions," Bragaw said. "In 1998, when Florida burned, the rainy season got a very late start - late June or early July.

    "But, we are expecting fire conditions to gradually improve as we head further on into the month of May."

    Almost 507,000 acres burned in 3,065 wildfires during 1998, one of Florida's worst fire seasons in more than a decade.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


  2. #2
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Post Update--Concerns Heightened

    Wildfire fears heating up
    This year, the Treasure Coast is about 3.5 inches below normal rainfall.

    By Suzanne Wentley staff writer
    May 16, 2003

    It is this time of year — when the temperatures are summer-like but the summer afternoon rains have yet to appear — that the threat of wildfires is at its peak.

    Even though the Treasure Coast has been fortunately free from any major wildfires this year, fire officials are quick to note the risk of out-of-control burns increases with each day without heavy downpours.

    "Right now, we're in pretty good shape," said Dale Justice, the bureau chief of Indian River County Fire-Rescue. "We are a little bit below for what we should be with rainfall, but we also have not had a lot of large brush fires."

    Along with fewer fires than the past few years, Justice and other officials have watched the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, which is one measure of the risk of wildfires, remain relatively low.

    The index, which tracks the moisture in the soil, ranges from 0-800 — the higher, the drier.

    On Thursday, Indian River County averaged 432 and St. Lucie County averaged 444.

    That's the lowest it's been on that date in each county for the almost every year for the past four years — which is as long as the state Division of Forestry has been keeping archived data.

    "About the time our drought index starts climbing, we get some rain," said Edward Ward, Division of Forestry's area supervisor. "So far, we've been fairly lucky."

    When fires ravaged Port St. Lucie in April 1999, destroying 43 homes, the drought index was in the 700s, remembered St. Lucie County Battalion Chief Carlos Duran.

    But officials judge fire risk not only on the drought index, but also the vulnerability for debris to burn and the wind speeds.

    "What really concerns us is those days with high wind conditions," Duran said. "Because we do get infrequent rains, the conditions are still critical to us for the possibility of brush fires getting out of control."

    When winds blow harder than 15 mph, fire officials send out more equipment to reported blazes. Also, when the National Weather Service in Melbourne issues "red flag warnings" or fire watches, fire-rescue response is stepped up.

    "We want to have these crews on site if it gets big fast," Justice said.

    John Pendergrast, a forecaster with the weather service, said the rainy season doesn't begin until the end of May, but later this week more rain is in the forecast.

    This year, the Treasure Coast is about 3.5 inches below normal rainfall, he said.

    "We need to see rainfall over a pronounced period of time," he said. "We haven't seen that lately.

    "It doesn't take too long to create dry conditions," he added.

    - suzanne.wentley@scripps.com
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  3. #3
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Post Florida Counties Begin to Worry

    Fire season brings worry to county
    By Marc Dadigan staff writer
    November 28, 2003

    INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — In January, residents of the Vero Beach Highlands awoke to the sounds of firefighters battling a nearby brush fire.

    Then a few weeks later, another fire was a few feet away from igniting a 102nd Court house.

    Brush fires in Indian River County already have caused three times the monetary damage this year than the previous two years combined, and county firefighters said there are ways residents can prevent another deluge of fires as dry and windy winter weather approaches.

    "The cooler weather has lower humidity, which dries out the brush and grass and makes it easier to ignite a fire," said Indian River County Fire Rescue Bureau Chief Dale Justice. "The strong winds that accompany the cold fronts make it easier to spread the fire."

    In an environment where a single discarded cigarette easily can cause a massive blaze, Justice said it's paramount that residents remain fire-conscious.

    Homeowners can protect their property by removing dead brush and leaves that are around the house and could provide fuel for fires, he said. It's also a good measure to remove leaves and pine needles from a home's roof, which is much more effective than hosing down the roof when a fire draw nears, Justice said.

    Indian River County Emergency Management Coordinator Nathan McCollum also advised residents to be extremely cautious with open flames, such as outdoor grills or bonfires. Sparks from ignited fireworks also can lead to fires during the winter, he said.

    "Make sure that no heat source is ever left unattended and you have to make sure it's completely extinguished when you're done," he said.

    He also advised residents living in homes near wooded areas to put together a little kit or suitcase of important papers and other items in case they have to dash out of the house because of a threatening brush fire.

    Both McCollum and Justice said to call 911 immediately upon seeing flames or smoke.

    "If people don't waste any time (in calling 911), we can resolve 95 percent of the cases within a few minutes," McCollum said.

    Information

    The number of wildfires and damage caused by them in Indian River County the last three years.

    2003

    • 15 woodland fires

    • 135 brush fires

    • 17 grass fires

    • Damage = $2,600

    2002:

    • 11 woodland fires

    • 122 brush fires

    • 30 grass fires

    • Damage = $720

    2001:

    • 15 woodland fires

    • 206 brush fires

    • 65 grass fires

    • Damage = less than $100

    - marc.dadigan@scripps.com
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  4. #4
    Forum Member RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Now in Victoria, BC. I'm from beautiful Jasper Alberta in the heart of the Can. Rockies - will always be an Albertan at heart!
    Posts
    6,329

    Default

    In an environment where a single discarded cigarette easily can cause a massive blaze, Justice said it's paramount that residents remain fire-conscious.
    Homeowners can protect their property by removing dead brush and leaves that are around the house and could provide fuel for fires, he said. It's also a good measure to remove leaves and pine needles from a home's roof, which is much more effective than hosing down the roof when a fire draw nears, Justice said.
    If residents in Florida have half a brain, after seeing the devastating fires in BC and California (assuming the BC fires made the US news at some point this summer) they will do everything possible to avoid the same thing happening to their communities and take these precautions. Can't stop fires from lightening, but they can at least protect their properties by some preventive
    maintenance.

    STAY SAFE
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

  5. #5
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Post More Concerns

    Fire risk jumps as temps dip

    By Lourdes Briz
    FLORIDA TODAY

    MELBOURNE -- As the temperature and humidity drop, the danger of wildfires goes up.

    The National Weather Service on Friday issued a red flag fire warning for virtually the entire state in anticipation of dry, breezy conditions today that could lead to fires that spread quickly. Monroe, Broward and the eastern half of Miami-Dade County are not under the fire warning, though conditions there warranted a fire watch.

    Humidity is expected to drop to 35 percent or lower in the afternoon with drastically cooler temperatures. Highs today are expected near 60 with lows this morning and Sunday in the mid- to low 40s. On Friday, the high was 85.

    "This will be shocking to many people," said Tony Cristaldi, senior forecaster with the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

    Orlando Dominguez, a spokesman for Brevard County Fire-Rescue, said residents should maintain a sense of awareness about the potential for fires.

    Dominguez advised residents not to toss lit cigarettes out of car windows and be careful when riding all-terrain vehicles. "A spark from an ATV can ignite a brush fire," he said.

    If you're doing any outdoor cooking, don't discard the charcoal in a high vegetation area, he said. "We're surrounded by foliage and vegetation, and there's always that potential for brush fires."

    Dominguez said residents can remove vegetation from roofs and gutters to prepare their homes.

    Dominguez also said it's best to keep a perimeter of 50 feet around homes clear of trees and shrubs.


    What's the difference?
    Most of Florida is under a red flag fire warning today, though three areas in South Florida are under a fire weather watch.

    Red flag warning: A more specific threat exists, mainly because of sustained periods of humidity of 35 percent or less and sustained winds, 20 feet off the ground, of more than 15 mph.
    Fire weather watch: A more general threat brought on by a forecast of low humidity and windy conditions.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  6. #6
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Post More Concerns

    Cold front, high winds prompt officials to warn of fire danger
    By Ed Bierschenk staff writer
    November 29, 2003

    A cold front coming into the area combined with strong winds has prompted firefighters along the Treasure Coast to ask residents to avoid outdoor burning if possible.

    The National Weather Service on Friday issued a fire weather watch for all of East Central Florida, including Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Brevard counties.

    The highs are expected to be in the low- to mid-70s today with temperatures dropping into the upper 40s overnight, according to Indian River County Emergency Management Coordinator Nathan McCollum. Winds are expected to reach up to 25 mph.

    Starting after daybreak Sunday, McCollum expected a gradual warming to occur with highs in the mid-70s Sunday and lows in the 50s overnight, with highs in the upper 70s Monday.

    Avoid any burning

    The humidity levels are expected to drop as well this afternoon, and McCollum said if at all possible people should "avoid any outdoor burning whatsoever."

    Martin County Battalion Chief Scott Legg agreed. Even a small fire a spark could escape and start a brush fire, he said.

    The cold snap will tend to dry the woods out, said Indian River County Fire Captain Gerald Resch.

    St. Lucie County Fire Capt. Tom Whitley said his county was right in the middle range of the drought index that measures such things as moisture content in the soil.

    If residents do any outside grilling, McCollum said, they should not leave the grill unattended and should make sure the fire is completely extinguished when they are done.

    Inspect heaters

    Both Resch and Legg said the fire departments will start to get more calls as residents and those returning from the north turn their furnaces on for the first time and smell the dust burning off the heater coils. Even though this typically doesn't result in a full-fledged fire, Legg said people should call whenever they smell burning in their home.

    McCollum and others said residents should make sure they keep space heaters a proper distance away from combustible materials. Mc- Collum made special note of the potential dangers in the bedroom where pillows and other linen might fall off the bed.

    "People need to follow manufacturers' recommendations in regard to the space heaters," said Legg.

    Resch added residents should inspect the space heaters to make sure they are in proper working order and there are no frayed wires. He also said residents should make sure to keep combustible materials a proper distance away from their fireplaces and that they are properly maintained.

    Beware power cords

    Legg said residents need to be careful with extension cords and not to string too many together or overload them with too many devices or strings of lights.

    People sometime will buy a cheaper extension cord instead of spending more money for one that might handle a larger load and last longer, according to Legg.

    "The cord gets overheated and can start a fire," said Legg of the potential danger of overloading the cords.

    Whitley said the area is entering into the season when cold snaps will start to roll in and kill some of the vegetation. When the vegetation dies, there is no longer any moisture in the plant, which adds to the potential for fire.

    "At this point we have not made any decision to increase the amount of equipment to responding to brush fires," said Whitley, although this can change depending on the situation.

    The equipment typically being sent to brush fires now include a fire engine and a brush truck, which is a rugged vehicle, sometimes with four-wheel drive, that can more easily maneuver into the woods than a fire engine.

    When conditions worsen later in the season, the department will send additional equipment such as a tanker truck and an additional fire engine, and it may put in a call to the state Division of Forestry for a pumper truck and a bulldozer with a plow, said Whitley.

    Clear debris

    Whitley said now is a good time for people to start preparing their property for the drier season. They should make sure their gutters and roof are clear of any leaves and vegetation.

    If possible, they should have 30 to 50 feet of distance between their homes and wooded areas. In addition, they should remove any clutter or debris, such as lumber, situated near the outside of the home, he said.

    - ed.bierschenk@scripps.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  7. #7
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Default

    Fire officials: A little yard work can keep fires at bay
    By CHRISTINA HOLDER, Staff Writer
    December 24, 2003

    All it takes is a little trim.

    As brush fire season begins in the early months of 2004, Bonita Springs residents can spare their homes from flames by taking responsibility for plant and tree maintenance, according to area fire and landscape experts.

    "Keep brush cleared away from your home," Bonita Springs fire district spokeswoman Debbi Redfield said. "Check your roofs and gutters for pine needles."

    The area's winter dry season always marks the peak time for wildfires, and recent cold fronts and the prospect of freezing temperatures heighten the prospect of an early brush fire season.

    The Florida Division of Forestry has not made an official prediction for what kind of brush fire season it predicts across the state during 2004, but director Michael Long says a preliminary look shows a slightly higher than normal season is ahead.

    A normal fire season averages about 5,000 fires statewide.

    "We can anticipate a little bit of an increase," Long said.

    Brush fires may increase be cause of anticipated cold fronts, Long said.

    "The frost will kill the fine fuels, the grasses, so they will ignite much quicker," he said.

    The fires often begin from arson and controlled burnings that get out of control, Long said.

    Redfield said the recent rains are a good sign of a slow season because the showers keep the plants saturated.

    "We have a little rain here and there," she said. "Plants and underbrush continue to grow."

    The Bonita Springs Fire Control and Rescue District did not have a heavy brush fire season last year.

    "It was wetter, and we didn't have a freeze," she said.

    Because they live in Florida, many residents want to plant tropical landscapes, Redfield said.

    Yet, some residents do not regularly prune the plants, shrubs and trees and allow them to become overgrown.

    "It's difficult to keep plants trimmed year round," she said.

    "That's what we see here."

    Stephen Trudnak, a landscape architect with Landscape Architecture in Bonita Springs, said some residents do not want to devote the time to caring for the plants.

    "There's no such thing as no- maintenance," he said.

    Instead there are small steps residents can take to protect their homes.

    "Anything that overhangs your house is probably not advised," he said. "I would strongly advise that everybody use an irrigation system around their house."

    Trudnak said he tries not to overplant a property but instead uses bigger plants for properties where residents want the look of a full, sprawling landscape.

    Redfield said she has seen houses that have been destroyed because brush was nearby and others that were untouched by flames because plantings were placed away from the house.

    "Just make sure they are far back enough from the house," she said.

    (Contact Staff Writer Christina Holder at 213-6039 or clholder@naplesnews.com )
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  8. #8
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Default Concern Heightens

    Hard freeze raises wildfire danger, official says

    By RON KOCH
    Staff Writer

    Last update: 25 December 2003


    PALM COAST -- Flagler County got its first breath of freezing teperatures last weekend as the low reached 30 degrees in Palm Coast on Sunday morning.

    While the cold front that left many residents reaching for an extra blanket is gone, its effects will linger for months.

    State forester Mike Kuypers warns residents to be aware that the wildfire danger increases after a freeze because it kills grass and underbrush that provides fuel for fires as it dries out.

    "The chance of a fire starting greatly increases after a hard freeze," said Kuypers, the state Division of Forestry's supervisor for District 10, which covers Volusia and Flagler counties, as well as a portion of St. Johns County.

    Kuypers said the the Division of Forestry's fire season begins around Christmas, so his agency will begin in January with prescribed burns to control the threat of wildfires.

    According to forecasters at the National Weather Service's Jacksonville office, temperatures aren't expected to dip below the low to mid-40s for the next week or so. Highs are expected to be in the mid-60s to near 70.

    Scott Kelly, a senior forecaster for the National Weather Service in Melbourne, said last weekend's wind and the low humidity prompted the agency to issue a "red flag warning," which alerts forestry and emergency management officials to the rising danger of wildfires.

    Kuypers said the blustery 15-20 mph winds, which made Saturday night's temperatures in the low 30s feel like the low 20s, also added to the problem.

    "The wind helps dry everything out," Kuypers said. "So people really need to be careful with cigarettes and matches."

    According to forecasts issued by the NWS, the area's highest possibility of rain for the next week is today, when there's a 30 percent chance. The chance of rain drops to 10 percent until New Year's Eve, the forecast said.

    While the area has received about 9 inches of rain more than normal this year, 57.29 inches, people shouldn't be fooled by the sight of water lingering from recent rainfall, Kuypers said, because the dry vegetation sits above that.

    "It'll burn right across water if there's enough fuel," he said.

    Dry vegetation also is a concern for Division of Forestry meteorologist Deborah Hanley, whose online outlook for the fall and winter warn that the above average rainfall could cause problems.

    "Lots of moisture over the past summer has created a lot of vegetation," she said. "Should there be a dry month during the winter or a heavy freeze, fire levels may quickly accelerate."

    While the fire danger level is listed as moderate in Flagler and Volusia counties, the drought index is approaching the midway point.

    The drought index used by forestry officials ranges from zero, or completely saturated, to 800, or desert-like conditions. On Tuesday, the Division of Forestry's Web site, flame.fl-dof.com, listed Flagler County's drought index at 442 while Volusia County was at 341.

    Kuypers urges all residents to be especially careful with outdoor burns, which many people use to rid themselves of yard waste.

    He advises folks to have it hauled away, but said if they must burn it they should "make sure to do it on days with light winds."

    ron.koch@news-jrnl.com
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  9. #9
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post

    Thanks for posting that update Stan. Palm Coast is where my folks live. Mike Kuypers is a close friend of the family....and was my brother's boss at the Bunnell office. Guess they had to turn the heat up a wee bit.

    NJ
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  10. #10
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Default

    Freezing Temperatures Increase Fire Danger

    Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

    Jacksonville- North Florida`s recent cold snap may do more than turn your lawn brown. Freezing temperatures can kill grasses and shrubs around your house and in adjacent forest land increasing the chance that a wildfire could start.

    Dormant winter vegetation is already dry due to lower moisture content in the leaves of plants. When combined with recent frost kills, a simple debris burning event can turn into a wildfire disaster. Dry brush and grasses can easily ignite with even the smallest spark. To prevent outdoor fires from escaping your control, remember to use caution when burning and follow all local regulations. Avoid burning yard debris on windy days because fires can be extremely difficult to control once they have escaped.

    Fire activity often increases around Christmas because of the tendency to burn wrapping paper, which is light weight and easily airborne, with other yard debris. Open burning to reduce yard trash (vegetative matter resulting from yard maintenance operations) and household paper products, generated on occupied residential premises of not more than two family units, is allowed in most counties providing the following requirements are met:

    * Smoke, soot, odors, visible emissions, heat, flame or radiation does not create a nuisance.

    * In rural counties the open burning must be 100 feet or more from any occupied building other that that owned or leased by the individual doing the burning and 50 feet or more from any public road.

    * In non-rural counties such as Alachua and Marion, the open burning must be 300 feet or more from any occupied building other than that owned or leased by the individual doing the burning and 100 feet or more from any public road.

    * The open burning must be ignited after 9:00am and extinguished one hour before sunset.

    * The open burning must be 50 feet or more from any residence where the burning is being conducted.

    * The open burning is attended and adequate fire extinguishing equipment is readily available at all times.

    * The open burning is enclosed in a pit or barrel, covered by a metal mesh and is set back at least 25 feet from any forest or woodlands.

    * Remember to report all possible wildfires immediately.

    Open burning is not allowed in certain non-rural counties such as Duval, where municipal solid waste collection services for yard trash are available. Call your local Division of Forestry for more information on burning yard debris.

    Annaleasa Winter
    Wildfire Mitigation Specialist
    (904) 266-5008
    Cell (904) 705-3931
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  11. #11
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Default

    Cold helps usher in wildfire season
    Freezes and dry conditions have increased the potential for wildfires.

    By LISE FISHER
    Sun Staff Writer


    Freezes and dry conditions have increased the potential for wildfires.

    The holiday season's recent wintry weather may be welcomed by hot cocoa lovers but not firefighters.

    Combine freezing temperatures with wind and dry conditions, and the scene is set for brush fires and the start of the wildfire season.

    "Everything is extremely dry due to the freezes we've had and with the lack of the water, fires just spread rapidly," said Alachua County Fire Rescue District Chief Chad Bradt.

    Alachua County currently has the highest drought index in the state at 575, said Michael Heeder with Gainesville Fire Rescue. Some spots in the county are higher. The index is a measure of dryness in regional vegetation and ranges from 1 to 800, which is desert conditions.

    "This is when fire season begins," Heeder said.

    Generally it's not until late spring and early summer that regular rains fall, reducing the risk. Unattended trash fires to discarded cigarettes can easily lead to brush fires, firefighters warn.

    Firefighters with the county, High Springs and Newberry departments fought a brush fire in the southeastern part of High Springs on Saturday afternoon, he said. About 20 firefighters responded to the blaze that raced across 20 acres.

    Several homes were threatened, Bradt said. But, by 4:30 p.m., the fire was under control. No one was injured, and there were no reports of property damage.

    The Florida Division of Forestry is investigating the cause of the blaze.

    Bradt said firefighters had been busy throughout the county Saturday responding to similar fires.

    On Friday, an illegal burn in northern Marion County also spread and burned several acres and a small building, Heeder said.

    The National Weather Service reported a red flag warning in effect through sunset Saturday in several counties in North Central Florida including Columbia, Hamilton, Lafayette and Suwannee. The warning highlights weather conditions with a strong potential for wildfires. In these areas relative humidity, a measure of the amount of water in air divided by the amount of water that the air can hold, remained below 35 percent for several hours, reports stated.

    Forecasters are predicting continued dry weather through Monday with highs in the 70s and lows in the 30s to 40s.

    Residents, wanting to do any outside burning, should first contact the state's Division of Forestry at (352) 955-2010 and ask about a burn permit, fire rescue officials said. All outdoor burning within Gainesville city limits is prohibited.

    Lise Fisher can be reached at 374-5092 or fisherl@ gvillesun.com.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts