Brushfire Burns Into Solar Panel Field

Forest Ranger Mullin

Hundreds of Solar Panels Threatened

An early evening brushfire was contained after 6 hours of firefighting. The Okeechobee County Fire Department and a unit from the Florida Forest Service were on scene. After initially being called to a 5 acre brushfire, a member of the Okeechobee Fire Department noticed a small smoke column coming from the east about 1/2 mile. After sending units to investigate, it was determined that material from the original fire had had started another brushfire a short distance away in a solar panel field. A fire department brush truck and a dozer from the Florida Forest Service entered the solar panel field and started firefighting tactics. The Forest Service dozer went in front of the fire and put in a plow line to slow the spread. The fire department brush truck then followed up with water to make sure the fire was extinguished at the line. The brush truck then proceeded to patrol the plow lines in the solar field looking for any signs that fire may have gotten out. The fire had quickly spread around the property and had crept under solar panels in some areas. There was no information about any damage done to the panels by the fire.

With the increase of solar panels around the state of Florida and in Okeechobee County, the Okeechobee County Fire Department and the Florida Forest Service had to change the way they fight wildland fires in those areas. Solar panels are very hard to see at night and can be very dangerous due to the electricity produced by them. Situational awareness and having a scout will help in staying safe and protecting the solar panels from damage.

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Palmettos BurningPhoto: Chuck Mullin

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Solar Panel FirePhoto: Chuck Mullin

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Solar Panel FirePhoto: Chuck Mullin

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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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