ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. - The scarecrow and cornucopia that made up a fall display in Sid Carlton's yard west of Fort Pierce lost a battle with Mother Nature last week.
"The wind caught my display and blew it across the yard," said Carlton.
The haze from a nearby controlled burn drifted overhead Monday. "Kind of dangerous, especially as dry as it is," Carlton adds.
If you look at the Keech-Byrum Drought Index, there are shades of orange, red and dark red from Indian River County down to Palm Beach County. The darker the color, the drier the ground.
"It's dry already. This is the time we start paying attention to the conditions," said St. Lucie County Assistant Fire Chief Carlos Duran. Chief Duran says his guys are getting about a dozen brush fire calls a week and so far, they've been easy to handle.
Normally when there's a brush fire call in St. Lucie County, one brush truck will be sent out to handle it but with the recent dry weather we've been having, St. Lucie County has set up a brush fire task force. Now two brush trucks head out to every call along with an engine and a tanker.
Fire officials say early preparation from homeowners will go a long way this season.
"Then by the time we get into real critical conditions, hopefully people are listening and taking care of their residences," said Chief Duran.
As Sid Carlton finishes his work around the house, he knows his work always extends out to the yard when it comes to being fire-safe.
"I keep it as short as possible and if I see any kind of debris in the yard, I pick it all up," said Carlton.