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Lehigh Acres is asking residents to be aware of approaching fire season

Posted at 2:55 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 19:16:14-05

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. —It’s the dry season in Florida, and if you’ve lived here long enough you know that also means it is fire season.

On Monday alone, the Lehigh Acres Fire Department responded to two caused brush fires, one lightning caused and other human caused.

While wildfires do occur naturally in Florida, only 10% are caused by lightning. The other 90% are started by humans.

“We will see these quick thunderstorms that come through,” said Katie Heck, the public information officer with the Leigh Acres Fire Department. “A lot of people will call in, they observe a lightning strike and shortly after they see flames and smoke.”

Heck adds that a lot human fires are not intentional but happen when people are in rush.

“Sometimes people are in a hurry,” said Heck. “They think they quickly put out an outdoor fire and it is just not saturated enough with water. What they don’t realize is that there are still hot embers in there that will reignite at a later time.”

Leigh Acres is full of empty lots, with tall grass, and plenty of fuel. In Southwest Florida, that fuel is full of natural oils. These oils make for flashy fuels that can lead to explosive growth a bush fire.

“It is definitely oilier, it is more dense,” said Matt Bevins, a Firefighter/EMT with the Lehigh Acres Fire Department. So it will hold the heat a lot better. You get a strong wind in any direction and in any way.”

Fighting those fires becomes more difficult when you in add in homes and businesses.

“We have homes right in the middle of an overgrown brush area,” said Heck. “Firefighters' primary concern when a brush fire call comes out is to identify where those homes are, protect them, and then put out the fire.”

Like we prepare for hurricane season, you can also prepare for fire season. A large part of that is creating 30 feet of defensible space around your home. That space will help firefighters not only get to the fire but give your home a fighting chance.

“You want to clear out any over grow brush,” said Heck. “Get dry leaves off your roof. And make sure your home is ready for should a hot ember or fire spread near your home.”

The key to remember it is not IF but WHEN the next major fire will occur. Now is the time to sure you have a plan for you and your family

Lehigh Acres Fire Department asks that you check with the daily burning restrictions this dry season to make sure your activity is permitted. This will not only keep you safe but help protect the community from a devastating brush fire.