Wildfire Potential Growing in Okeechobee County
2-3-2022 Okeechobee County, Fl
At approximately 10:15 am on Thursday February 3, 2022, a brushfire broke out in the R Bar community of Okeechobee County. The fire was approximately 1 acre in size and was burning in very dry grass. The Okeechobee County Fire Department responded quickly and had the fire extinguished before it got near any houses. The Florida Forest Service was also on scene but did not need to unload any heavy equipment. After a brief investigation, it was determined the fire started by a resident mowing their grass. The grass had piled up under the mower and the heat from the muffler started the dry grass on fire. The owner did not notice the mower was stringing fire behind it until the fire was too big. Okeechobee County has had 3 wildfires start in the last week due to residents mowing their grass in the dry conditions. Wildfires can start very easily this time of year and spread rapidly due to the high winds and lack of rainfall.
Okeechobee and surrounding counties had freezing temperatures recently that killed large amounts of vegetation. These frost kills lead to an increase in wildfire potential. Residents need to be careful when using equipment in dry grass, having campfires or open burning. Even discarding a cigarette improperly can lead to a fire in these conditions. Florida has a year long wildfire season with the most fires between January and June, peaking in March/April.