Wildfire season transitions to 'wet season' plan

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - The burn ban in Palm Beach County has been lifted, and burn bans in nearby Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties could be lifted later this week.

It marks the unofficial end of our wildfire season on the Treasure Coast, where for the first time since 2011, we have had out of state firefighters helping us in South Florida put out wildfires.

If there’s someone who really loves this rain, it’s Florida Forest Service Rangers, like senior ranger, Jeff Curl.

“It’s nice to take a step back and spend time with our families now," Curl says.

The last time their firefighting dozers were out was Thursday, since then it's been nearly nonstop rain. It closes what’s been an active season, caused by drought.

From January-June, the FFS in Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River counties, wildfire fighting stats:
In 2017: 85 wildfires, burning 2,803 acres.
2016: 32 wildfires, 700 acres.
2015: 42 wildfires, 838 acres.

“The fire behavior was a lot more extreme than normal," Curl says.

Now, it’s about prepping equipment, and fire mitigation ahead of the October dry season.

Melissa Yunos is the voice to their twitter account, and organizes prevention education and efforts, like installing firebreaks.

“We have some in Martin, St. Lucie County where the communities are on pins and needles waiting focus to stop fighting wildfires and do that work for them," Yunos says.

Tuesday was the first day in about 2 months when open burning wasn't restricted. FFS issued 24 permits.
They’re also ready to head out of state, should there be a need to fight fires in other states. Last year, they were sent to Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia.

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