“One less spark could mean one less wildfire”: Dry conditions raise concerns over wildfires

"One less spark could mean one less wildfire": Dry conditions raise concerns over wildfires
Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 11:39 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Dry conditions in much of North Central Florida are raising concerns over destructive wildfires.

“One less spark could mean one less wildfire,” explained Ludie Bond, the Public Information Officer and Wildfire Mitigation Specialist for the Florida Forest Service.

If people were outdoors grilling or starting a campfire on Memorial Day, it is crucial to ensure the fire is completely out, especially with the extremely dry conditions being experienced across the area.

“Even though you put water on your fire and you don’t see any flame, and you don’t see any smoke, it could still be holding heat,” according to Bond.

TV20′s Chief Meteorologist Bill Quinlan said it isn’t just the lack of rainfall causing the fire danger but rather the lack of moisture in the soil.

“The soil moisture that is disappearing so all of the plants are drying up, making them an extremely dangerous fire source,” explained Quinlan.

RELATED STORY: Alachua County issues a burn ban to help prevent wildfires

As thunderstorms start to occur, it is essential rain comes along with it; otherwise, the dry plants could ignite.

“While the fire and any conditions like this with a thunderstorm building back up like this over several nights in a row when you get a summertime patter going if you get widespread rainfall that is great,” according to Quinlan. “If you get the lighting strikes with the dry conditions that can cause more of these thunderstorms or produce fires that stick around and burn underground for several days or weeks. Then the wind starts to pick up, and that creates more of an issue.”

If people start a fire for a grill or campfire and do not adequately put it out, the flame could flare up, allowing the fire to spread. Bond said when anyone has an outdoor fire, it is crucial to ensure “everything is cold to the touch before you leave it. If it is too hot to touch, then it is too hot to leave.”

She explained people are encouraged not to burn anything outdoors right now because of the dry conditions. There are burn bans in place for Alachua and Gilchrist counties, while Marion County has a voluntary burn ban.

To find out more information about wildfires and proper burning, click here.

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