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Firefighters prepare for potential busy fire season

Fire concerns arise as the season begins
Posted at 10:51 PM, Dec 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-24 07:42:23-05

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla — There are 15 fire breaks located throughout the North Collier Fire District.

"In case we experience a brush fire it gives us a little working space, to get brush units in there to stop the fire, it also creates a break,” said North Collier Battalion Chief James Hammond.

The breaks are fields in between lines of woods, and are maintained by the fire department throughout the wet season. Fire season in Florida is right around the corner.

“We’ve had a slightly dry start, it's almost if they flipped a switch. Hurricane season ended, and the next day the dry weather showed up, the dry air showed up,” said Melinda Avni, a wildfire mitigation specialist with the Florida Forestry Service.

Avni says even with the storm system that passed through area last week, the region needs more rain on a consistent basis to reduce the chances of a busy fire season.

“When we’ve lost a lot of moisture in the soil, the soil takes a while to re-hydrate, that clay layer has to be thoroughly wet, before water will move from the surface layer, down to the ground water.”

Too much water, like a flood and the soil can’t absorb it all at once.

There is also also other concerns above the surface. There is still debris from Hurricane Irma in hard to reach areas, even though its been a year in a half since the storm.

“The issue we have is there are a lot of wooded areas and those aren’t maintained, so hurricane Irma obviously brought down a lot of trees in those vacant lots,” said Hammond.

Fire crews are asking homeowners to take a look around their property and remove dead branches and vegetation. The debris could act as fuel for any future wildfires.