CAPE CORAL, Fla – As dry conditions continue in Southwest Florida, so does the fire danger risk. The Cape Coral Fire Department wants to remind people that we all play a role in preventing wildfires.
According to Thursday’s Florida Forest Service fire danger index, Lee County is experiencing the highest risk in Southwest Florida:
CCFD said about 90% of wildfires are human-caused. That means the majority of them are preventable.
One area fire fighters are focused on is cigarette butts. Late last month, there was a median fire near Pine Island Road and Andalusia Boulevard. CCFD said it was the third fire in a week they responded to that was caused by cigarettes being thrown out of car windows. This is something it says you should avoid doing all year long, not only during dry season.
It's not just cigarettes that play a role. The fire departments is also asking that you be careful with things like grills and fire pits.
“The weather has been beautiful lately, so enjoying some time outside is a great past time. However, if you're using a fire pit you want to make sure that you always have a source of extinguishment nearby. So a bucket of water, a fire hose, that it is contained within maybe a cinder block ring, a pre-designed element, and that it is away from your home. And that way if the wind does pick up, it doesn't blow the embers into an area that might catch fire,” said Andrea Schuch, Public Affairs Specialist for the Cape Coral Fire Department.
She also said to be mindful of ATV's, cars and anything that can cause a spark. She suggests parking on gravel, concrete or dirt because the sparks can ignite small grasses and spread into bigger brush during dry conditions.
And when it comes to protecting your home, CCFD said you want to remember to create at least 30-feet of defensible space that is lean, clean, and green.
It said that this breaks up the continuity of vegetation that could lead wildfire to your home. This buffer zone also gives firefighters the space they need to defend your home from a wildfire.
Detailed information on how to do this can be found here.