Multiple Brushfires in Okeechobee District
3/3/2022- Okeechobee Fire District
With Spring approaching, Florida's yearly drying out is upon us. Multiple wildfires have been starting due to various reasons. One of those reasons is agricultural equipment. Many ranchers are baling up hay and with dry grass and low humidity, some of these machines are catching fire. On Tuesday, March 1, Florida Forest Service and Okeechobee County Fire Rescue responded to a brush fire off of Dark Hammock Road. Okeechobee County proceeded to use their brush truck to fight the fire from the black (burned) area. The fire was quickly brought under control and the owner lost approximately 3 acres of his hayfield. After an investigation, it was determined that the tractor being used had heated up grass and started the fire.
On Saturday, February 27, a fire broke out in the vicinity of the Okeechobee County Airport. Florida Forest Service and Okeechobee County FD were paged out to a 2 acre fire. 2 dozer/plow units from the Forest Service unloaded and proceeded to put in fire breaks to contain the fire. After approximately 2 hours of firefighting, the blaze was contained. Okeechobee FD continued to mop-up and take care of any spot fires that may have been started by embers. After an investigation, it was determined the cause of this fire was agricultural equipment. A tooth from a mulcher had broken off and flew into dry grass. The heat from the tooth started the fire and it eventually jumped a canal and took off into the wildland area. The fire ended up being 4.5 acres in 25 year rough which made it difficult to fight.
Sunday, February 28, a brush fire broke out in the Viking Prairie section of Okeechobee County. Florida Forest Service and Okeechobee County FD responded with a dozer/plow unit and a brush-truck. The fire was mostly in grass with some palmetto-galberry involved. The fire burned 2.5 acres and destroyed many fence posts on three different properties. There was a recreation vehicle within 50ft of the fire, but it was untouched. The cause of this fire was determined to be a campfire that got out.