LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. — We are quickly entering the dry season here in Southwest Florida bringing the return of wildfires.
"Our guys are busy right now for sure! Currently we're running about one outdoor fire a day," says Katie Heck, Public Relations Officer for Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District.
Heck says dry, windy air rolling through the area is causing the breakout of fires.
"We’re not getting a lot of rain and the hot conditions just lead to that ripe weather for these fires to start," says Heck.
Since the start of 2021, there have been 577 wildfires across the state that have burned over 7,600 acres of land. The fires can start from small things like trash burning in your backyard, or throwing a lit cigarette out of the window of your car.
"A lot of wildfires are man-made. So this can be having an outside fire at your residence and then an ember can travel up to a mile and light a wildfire," says Heck.
The damage done by brush fire can be devastating for your land and your home. Officials say it's important to have an emergency backpack and evacuation plan in place to avoid tragedy.
"Food, water, medication. It's really similar to a hurricane evacuation plan but with a wildfire, you don’t have as much notice that it's coming. So it's something that you want to keep ready and never wait to evacuate especially from a fire," says Heck.
Click here for more tips on how to prepare for wildfire season.