Wildfire danger increasing; winds increasing and ground is dry

Florida Forest Service handing out information
Posted at 4:55 PM, Feb 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-14 18:51:27-05

Recent dry weather has the Florida Forest Service out with a warning to residents to be ready in case of a wildfire.

Tom Walsh remembers seeing the smoke and the fire race towards his neighborhood.

“It hit so fast, right across Indrio right down here where all the burnt trees are," said Walsh.

Walsh saw firefighters on the ground, and helicopters dropping water from above as a 200-acre wildfire damaged some nearby apartments in the spring of 2014.

“The lot over there burnt, the lot behind me burnt," said Walsh as he pointed to the neighboring properties.

Melissa Yunas with the Florida Forest Service, picks up some dead vegetation and crunches it between her hands.

She says with the winds expected to kick up Wednesday, there’s an elevated risk of wildfire again.  With about a third of Treasure Coast residents living near undeveloped land, she’s reminding people to be “ready and set to go.

“We’re getting dry out there.  So prepare your home now. Clean off your roof and gutters, have an evacuation plan and when a wildfire does happen, evacuate," said Yunas.

Homes like Walsh’s had plenty of defensible space, and the former firefighter had no pine needles on the roof.

"I had experience and knew what to do and stayed calm," said Walsh.

While there were no major fires to report Tuesday, there were three fires on the Treasure Coast Monday including a 120-acre fire in western St. Lucie County.  

Over the weekend, fires crept close to neighborhoods in Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens, but caused no property damage.