Weather Patterns Increasing Florida Wildfire Potential

Forest Ranger Mullin

Florida Drying Out Due To La Nina
Southern Wildfire Potential February 2022Predictive Services- National Interagency Fire Center
Wildfire Potential March 2022Predictive Services- National Interagency Fire Center

Florida may see an increase in wildfires this year due to the weather pattern known as La Nina. The La Nina weather pattern tends to dry areas out to either drought status or close. According to the National Interagency Fire Center Predictive Services, Florida will see above normal wildfire potential due to the below normal amounts of precipitation and the continuing dry conditions.

Florida has seen 2 straight years of damaging frost which increases the amount of dead vegetation. This vegetation dries out and becomes fuel for wildfires. During a drought year, this has the potential to increase the damage caused by wildfires. The abundance of dry fuels causes hotter fires that can spread rapidly.

The best way to combat wildfires is to prepare your home and have a plan. Remove all garbage, furniture, debris, etc., that may be piling up next to structures and outbuildings. This material may catch hot embers and cause the fire to spread or even enter the structure. Keep all tree limbs trimmed at least 30 feet away from houses. Clean leaves and debris from gutters. Gutters can catch embers and help spread fire through the roof. Grass should be mowed and kept at a length of 3” or less. This will keep the fire from spreading rapidly.

Have an evacuation plan. Florida doesn’t get the massive fires that we see out west, but that shouldn’t make anyone complacent. Have an escape route, make a game plan with your family, make sure pets and livestock are safe. Being prepared is one of the best ways to protect your family and property from wildfires.

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Wildland Firefighter, Public Information Officer, Florida Fire Safety Inspector, Wildfire Season Updates for Okeechobee and surrounding counties(Glades, St lucie, Highlands, Indian River, Martin) , Public service announcements regarding fires and relevant detours and road closures due to smoke and fire.

Okeechobee, FL

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