Growing wildfire threat in South Florida

Posted at 5:54 PM, Feb 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-01 20:15:49-05

There’s a growing wildfire threat in South Florida

The dry, cool air feels perfect but it’s also the perfect mix for wildfire danger.

Just one spark is all it takes to ignite vegetation and start a potentially devastating fire.  
March 2013 was the second worst wildfire in St Lucie County history. 2,000 people evacuated, 200 acres were scorched.

Fire investigators worry history could repeat itself.
“Fires start out really small this time of year,” said Melissa Yunas, a wildfire mitigation specialist, with the Florida Forest Service. “They'll be on the side of the road shoulder, they'll be in the dry brush.”

The conditions then are similar to the conditions now: very dry with little moisture. It's an ideal combination for wildfires to spark. 

“You see how dry and thick this vegetation is, it's all ready to ignite and burn,” Yunas showed us.
That’s why forest area supervisor Joe Debree III is asking you to follow his advice, “Be more cautious, make sure your fires are out if you're out having a good time,” he said.
And avoid pulling over your vehicle where there’s heavy brush. “ Look for an area that doesn't have high grass, where it's not touching the exhaust system,” explained Debree.

Homeowners are being asked to do some housekeeping: keep your roof and gutters free of sticks and twigs, keep brush at least 30 feet from your home and water your grass regularly.