Marion County, Florida has received over 4 inches of rain in the first ten days of this month. The recent wet weather, however, brought a false sense of security to those who practice backyard burning. The area’s drought index is still high as rainfall is still 4 to 10 inches below normal. After the rains dried out, low humidity and wind gusts fueled several recent wildfires.
Forecasts Look Grim
Unlike much of the western part of the United States, wildfire season in Florida runs from December through June, opposite of hurricane season. Ocala.com reports that forecasters predict the below-normal rainfall to last through late May. Consequently, experts recommend Marion County residents refrain from backyard burning until there is regular rainfall.
Protection from Wildfires
Although the recent wildfires have not grown past a few acres, homeowners should still take precautions to protect their homes since the area is rich with highly flammable plant life, such as pine trees.
- Keep vegetation such as trees and shrubs a minimum of 30 feet away from the home. Prune trees that are close to a home to 15 feet away from roofs and chimneys.
- Keep lawns mowed and green.
- Move landscaping plants and vines away from the sides of a home.
- Avoid using dried pine needles as a decorative landscaping element.
- Keep combustible materials 50 feet away from a home.
- Protect your documents from fire damage by keeping them in a location outside of the home, such as a safety deposit box.
Dangerous and unpredictable, wildfires are best fought with fire damage prevention measures. Anytime there is a high risk for wildfires, residents should consult their local fire department to see what the professionals recommend to keep their property safe.