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Wildfire Season Preparation Tips

Residents and visitors of Southwest Florida, are you prepared for wildfire season?

You may think wildfires occur right after hurricane season, or what many locals refer to as, the dry season, but this is not the case. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, wildfire season is year round .

The most active months are from December through June due to lack of rain. March, April and May are considered peak season for wildfires because of lightning strikes and dry thunderstorms which are prevalent in Florida during that time of year.

In 2015, Florida Forest Service, a division of Florida Department of Agriculture, reported that 80% of all wildfires occur within one mile of the woods.

Cabbage-Palm Tree
Cabbage-Palm Tree

To limit the chance of losing your property to a wildfire, experts suggest residents prepare by doing the following:

Trim Trees and Bushes – Pay particular attention to highly flammable plants like Cabbage-Palm Trees and Palmetto Bushes that are on or near your property.

“You want to trim back at least 1/3 of the dead leaves starting from the boot of the Cabbage Palm,” said Melissa Yunas who is a Wildfire Mitigation Specialist at Florida Forest Service.

Palmetto Bush
Palmetto Bush

If you have Palmetto bushes that are taller than 8 feet, Melissa suggests trimming dead fonds from the trunk starting from the bottom up and working your way up.

Defense Zone – Create a defensible barrier between your home and the woods by removing any dried branches, leaves, needles and twigs within 30ft of your property. Doing so will protect your home from flames that sparks from heavily wooded areas.

Rooftop Clean Up – Remove branches, needles, twigs from your rooftop and gutter. It’s also a good idea to keep woodpiles, propane tanks and other flammables at least 3-to-5ft away from your home.

Evacuation Plan – Part of the plan should include at least two escape routes that you’ve practiced with your family, a designated meeting place, and an action plan for family pets.

Related Stories:

FEMA Disaster Assistance
Locals Thankful for Safety After Collier County Forest Fire
Fire Extinguisher Tips

Emergency Supply Kit recommends:

• A three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of for each person
• Prescriptions or special medications
• Change of clothes
• Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
• Extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash
• First aid kit
• Flashlight
• Battery-powered radio and extra batteries

• Birth certificates, passports, etc.

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