Watching for Wildfires

Not surprisingly, the threat for wildfires is soaring, but this year's hurricane damage could make matters worse. A paltry one-tenth of an inch of water has tumbled from the clouds in the past six weeks when normally we'd have a full four or five. If appreciable rain does not show up soon, we may be in for trouble.

Dr. Deb Hanley, Florida Fire Weather Meteorologist, says, "If we have a winter where we don't get the rainfall we would normally get, we're going to enter into the fire season a lot drier than normal, which means we have higher potential for wildfires."

Your grass might look all brown and crunchy, but the wildfire danger threat continues to go up because of the lack of rainfall, and in areas hit by hurricanes, the situation might become worse.

The debris left behind is potential fuel for even more wildfires, with even greater intensity.

Jim Brenner with the Florida Division of Forestry says, "As a result of that increased intensity, they'll be throwing pieces of bark, branches and ambers downwind or outside the main body of the fire and those ambers will start new fires."

Folks who plan on burning should carefully monitor Forestry Division forecasts regularly broadcast here on WCTV.

Deb Hanley adds, "They may ask for heavy equipment on-site, which includes anything from a water tender to a bulldozer; anything that would help keep control of the fire."

And a little help from mother nature would be more than welcome.

Arson and routine burns that get out of control are two big causes of large wildfires. Lightning can also contribute to fires, mostly during the summer months.