SOUTHWEST FLORIDA — Hurricane season officially ended November 30. That means that you can put your hurricane kits away for a few months.
The 2018 hurricane season saw 15 named storms, eight hurricanes and two major hurricanes - Michael and Florence.
We might be out of the woods, but we're not out of the forest yet. The end of hurricane season means that dry season is just getting started.
We talked with Melinda Avni, a mitigation specialist with the Florida Forest Service. Melinda and her team can now focus on several strategies that can help prevent brush fires.
One of these strategies is making paths where it’s easier for their brush truck to get in and around fires. To do that, her team keeps areas clear so huge machines like this one can put out a fire more easily.
Florida is one of the most fire-prone states and according to Melinda, fires happen every day in the Sunshine State.
“We could have water up to my knees and some of this vegetation here, if lightning were to hit it, it would still ignite," said Melinda.
But the chances of dry soil and low humidity from December to June is what makes the dry season so important to pay attention to. The further along the dry season, the drier that soil might get if we don’t get enough rain.
"So hopefully we’ll get enough rain, it’ll be sporadic, but towards the spring with the rains come back and the thunderstorms come back, that’s when we expect to see the wildfire potential come up,” said Melinda.
So for now, natural wildfires aren’t a huge concern but you should always be prepared. And if you don't have a fire emergency kit, you still have time to make one.
"A fire could happen at any time and we don’t want people to be afraid. We want people to be aware. We want people to be prepared because it’s just like with a hurricane, if you know what’s going on, you know what you can do,” said Melinda.