WeatherFire Watch


Clearing the way for fire season

We know. You don't want to hear the "F" word
Posted at 11:49 PM, Feb 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 10:08:25-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- One of these signs could pop up on your property. That is why you should know about the Wildfire Hazard Mitigation Project.

The Florida Forest Service says it’s the clearing of property that helps firefighters during fire season.

Four in Your Corner spoke with Melinda Acni, Mitigation Specialist, with the Service. She says cleaning up lots in rural areas of Southwest Florida that are full of vegetation helps to provide an easy access point for brush trucks to get to the interior of a fire - which, according to the Acni, is where many wildfires start.

It also helps to minimize the risk of damage to your property. Acni uses the Lehigh Acres brush fires of 2006 to stress the project’s importance. “We lost several properties because of the difficulty in accessing undeveloped areas”, she said.

Some homeowners expressed worry about the program, asking if it means that the state could clear property that they own on lots nearby their homes.

Acni says that’s true. But that’s not the route she seeks to go. “If it’s the only place for us to get through to establish an access point, we will work with the property owners as best as possible. But, we do have the right of access.”

If you have questions about clearing property near your home, Melinda Acni asks that you call the Florida Forest Service and ask to speak with her directly.