CAPE CORAL, Fla – Dry conditions are expected to continue into the weekend in Southwest Florida and it’s important to keep in mind that with that, comes a heightened fire risk.
According to The Florida Department of Agriculture, there are things you can do to create and maintain a defensible space around any home, which increases the likelihood that a home will survive a wildfire even in the absence of firefighters.
The department says to follow these guidelines:
- Thin trees so that the crowns (tree tops) are 10 to 15 feet apart.
- Remove any "ladder fuels". Ladder fuels are vines and shrubs that can carry a ground fire up into the treetops.
- Remove dense fuels, trim overhanging branches, and carefully plan your landscaping within 30 feet of homes.
- Prune tree limbs so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
- Remove any large groupings of plants like saw palmetto, yaupon, wax myrtle and gallberry, especially if the plants are close to the home, adjacent decks or porches or under eaves or overhangs.
- Instead of flammable mulch like bark or wood chips, use lava stone or coarse gravel around any shrubbery that is within 5 feet of the structure.
- ALLOW NO FLAMMABLE VEGETATION IN CONTACT WITH THE STRUCTURE.
- Remove highly flammable plants characterized by resinous sap and waxy leaves. These include: saw palmetto, wax myrtle, yaupon, red cedar, cypress and young pine trees.
- Locate firewood and propane gas tanks at least 50 feet from the structure.
- Keep 100 feet of hose readily available at a faucet away from the structure.
- Select less-flammable plant species to plant within the zone of defensible space.
On Friday, The Florida Forest Service released its latest forecast fire danger indices. All of Florida, including all of Southwest Florida is seeing a moderate fire risk: