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Dry conditions sparking concerns after recent brush fires

Posted at 10:17 PM, Dec 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-29 22:17:15-05

Plumes of black smoke rose to the sky after a pile of trash caught on fire. It was one of two fires Wednesday that kept North Collier Fire Rescue busy.

"It took the better part of the day to get the fires extinguished," said Eric Watson, who serves as assistant chief of North Collier Fire Rescue.

Firefighters that battled those fires say it is a much earlier start to wildfire season. Usually brush fire season kicks off in February or March.

"The reality of it is rainy season ended a little sooner than we anticipated and brush fire season started a lot sooner than we anticipated," said Watson.

There is also plenty of fuel for fires to feast on this time of year. North Collier Fire Rescue say there is plenty of brush that could be at risk.

Joe Wallen knows the dangers of brush fires all to well from his own personal experience. He had a front row seat to a fire on his property.

"We did go through the experience of a fire in our backyard 20 years ago caused by bottle rockets on News Year's Eve," said Wallen, who has lived in Naples for the past thirty years.

North Collier Fire Rescue know fireworks and bonfires are popular recreational activities for Southwest Floridians. They just hope you pay very close attention to those embers.

"We would caution people and pay attention to where you shoot off fireworks for the new year and realize you can be held accountable and responsible for any brush fire that starts as a result of fireworks," said Watson.