Extreme Weather Conditions Responsible for the Rise in Brush Fires

According to the Florida Forest Service, there has been a significant increase in brush fires over the last 3 months. Lightning from summer storms in addition to abnormally dry weather is responsible for the increase of fires.

81 brush fires are responsible for damage to 6,363 acres of land in the Miami-Dade area. At the same point during 2014, 51 fires had been documented. In addition to lightning the absence of rainfall, humidity, wind, and both Sawgrass and Pine Rockland from the Everglades assist fires in their ability to move quickly.

On July 13, 2015 two brush fires, both caused by lightning, managed to burn upwards of 500 acres of grass.

Wildlife fire agencies use the Keetch-Byram Drought Index to determine the dryness of soil; the Miami-Dade area falls high on the index with a rating of more than 550. Last year the same area had a rating of 252. “When you start to get above 500, fire has a tendency to spread quicker,” said Scott Peterich, wildfire mitigation specialist from Florida Forest Service.

Precautions to Take Against Brush Fires

Those who live in close proximity to wild fire areas have been advised to eliminate leaves, twigs, pine needles, and additional flammable vegetation from roofs to mitigate the risks of brush fires. “Our burn teams create a detailed prescribed fire plan and adhere to the plan insuring a safe burn for both the forest and public,” said Peterich.

While 95% of forest fires are due to human activity there are instances where states burn dead vegetation to diminish the chance that those areas will be apart of a forest fire.

These contained fires recycle nutrients and stimulate both vegetative and animal variety in addition for opening the land up to direct sunlight. California is currently experiencing the worst drought in its recorded history in addition to an increase in wild fires. Officials have fought more than 3,200 fires so far.

Fires that move from unoccupied areas into developed areas are titled as urban interface. Additionally, when the smoke from wild fires moves closer to the highway it is responsible for low-visibility and dangerous driving conditions.


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