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Wildfires ☘ What to do ☘ What you should Know ☘ Hoey Team ☘ eXp Realty
Wildfires occur outside the front and back doors of many homes in our area.
The Florida Forest Service’s Caloosahatchee Forestry Center, City of Naples Police & Fire Department, Immokalee Fire Control District, Isle of Capri Fire & Rescue District, Greater Naples Fire Rescue District, Marco Island Fire & Rescue Department, Ochopee Fire Control District, and North Collier Fire Control & Rescue District would like to provide the residents of our communities with some tools to better prepare for wildfire season.
In fact, 70% of wildfires are caused by people.
The other 30% are caused by lightning.
Florida’s wildfire season is year-round, with peak fire activity in Southwest Florida during the months of January-June.
Wildfires in Florida’s natural areas are a vital component to the health and wellbeing of our native plants and animals.
There are plants and animals that cannot survive without periodic fire.
Occasional wildfires ensure continued diversity of wildlife and native vegetation, such as maintaining habitats for gopher tortoises while making room for Florida wildflowers to bloom.
Wildfires and prescribed fire can also thin out dense woods and provide ash that fertilizes the soil.
Fire has been a part of Florida’s ecosystem for thousands of years.
Our districts have a considerable number of homes situated within close proximity to wooded areas, natural spaces, and preserves.
When woods are near homes this is known as the wildland-urban interface (WUI).
WUI is a linear distance measured between unoccupied land (wooded/natural areas) and developed areas (residential, commercial).
Essentially, if there are trees, brush, or long grasses located just steps outside of a home, that home’s fire ignition level is much greater than if there were at least 30 feet of separation.
Land Management to Reduce Fire Risk To help ensure the health of our wildlands and wooded areas, Caloosahatchee Forestry Center conducts prescribed burns, and employs wildfire mitigation tactics that utilizes roller chopping, mulching, or mowing in designated high fire risk areas.
Prescribed fire is quick, efficient, and best simulates the natural role of fire in Florida.
Burning often requires months of planning to ensure control and safety along with heavy equipment and trucks on scene.
Fire personnel take extra precautions to limit problems caused by smoke from these fires.
Roller chopping is a technique that uses a bulldozer to pull a metal drum with blades that knocks down and cuts up plants and vegetation.
Forestry personnel work carefully around trees to limit damage to root systems, and the work is essential in areas where vegetation has grown to dangerous heights and/or prescribed burns are impractical.
Mulching and grinding uses machines with toothed, rotating drums that masticate vegetation.
The machines create a layer of mulch that will slowly decompose.
The process allows fire personnel to work closer to homes, and these areas quickly grow back.
Wildfire safety is everyone’s responsibility.
The Caloosahatchee Forestry Center , City of Naples Police & Fire Department, Immokalee Fire Control District, Isle of Capri Fire & Rescue District, Greater Naples Fire Rescue District, Marco Island Fire & Rescue Department, Ochopee Fire Control District, and North Collier Fire Control & Rescue District, recommends people take action to reduce the risk to homes and other structures in the WUI.
Florida residents often choose to live in areas prone to wildfires because of the natural beauty of the areas.
Fast moving wildfires present significant danger, and have increased dramatically as people build in heavily wooded areas. The only solution is to take appropriate steps to make homes more Firewise.
The Firewise principles that follow, list the bare minimum that needs to be done to reduce the risk of wildfires causing harm to people and structures in the WUI.
Firewise Tips to Make Your Home Safer From Wildfire
(Note: Caloosahatchee Forestry Center will provide a free wildfire inspection of your home upon request.)
• Keep tree branches trimmed away from roofs and gutters. Keep gutters free of leaves.
• Structures should have an area of at least 30 feet of defensible space around them that is clean, green and free of dead vegetation (if less, do as much as possible).
• Remove dead vegetation and dried leaves from around homes and structures.
• Plant less flammable, ornamental vegetation next to structures and use chunky mulch, shells, or gravel as mulch.
• Maintain a working irrigation system around structures and use it according to local water restrictions.
• Cover eaves and other openings with wire mesh no larger than 1/8th of an inch.
• Keep combustible items, gases, and liquids away from structures.
• Overgrown vegetation around boats, ATVs, and sheds should be cut.
• Build homes with fire-resistant materials.
• Keep driveways at least 12 feet wide and free of overhanging branches and overgrown plants that may hinder emergency response. Be prepared when wildfires threaten the community.
• Create an evacuation plan and make sure all family members know and understand it.
• Follow the directions of emergency personnel and evacuate immediately if requested.
• Have important documents and other items, such as medication, readily available.
• Plan for pets and livestock.
If time allows:
• Remove lightweight curtains that might ignite from radiant heat due too wildfires.
• Move flammable furniture away from windows and glass doors.
• Turn off the power and disconnect fuel supplies.
Along with Firewise prevention measures, officials urge residents to follow these guidelines set by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service’s Florida Forest Service (FFS):
• Check with local fire district officials to see if there are any burn restrictions in the area.
• Keep outdoor burning fires contained to an 8-foot diameter pile or non-combustible container. Fire setbacks must be at least 25 feet from forests, 25 feet from homes, 50 feet from paved public roads, and 150 feet from other occupied buildings.
• Obtain a burning authorization from the Florida Forest Service for piles larger than 8 feet in diameter. Call your local Florida Forest Service field office or fire district.
• Check the weather daily and don’t burn on windy days or when the humidity is below 30 percent.
• Never leave a fire unattended, and make sure it is completely out before leaving.
• Keep a shovel and water hose handy in case the small fire starts to escape containment.
• Report suspicious activity to the Arson Alert Hotline at 1-800-342-5869.
Article content from Collier County Government; Southwest Florida and from our personal experiences with wildfires in our SWFL neighborhood.
Also; please check out the other blogs, and tabs to many other Links, Updates, Reports & Stats that we have here on our informational website. ☘
We hope that you find the information useful. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Barry or Kim with the Hoey Team ☘ brokered by eXp Realty
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