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High fire danger in Sarasota County | Environment

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High fire danger in Sarasota County
High fire danger in Sarasota County

North Port, Florida -- The City of North Port reports a "Red Flag Warning" has been issued for Southwest Florida. This means that this area is experiencing severe drought conditions, low humidity and moderate to gusty winds.

On the Keetch-Byrum Index, a scale of wildfire danger from zero (no danger) to 800 (extreme danger), Sarasota County and the City of North Port are in the 550 - 599 range.

"With little rainfall, low humidity and gusty winds, weather conditions in our area are perfect for the rapid start and spread of wildfire. Although we had a little rain a week or so ago, it was not nearly enough to ward off these dangerous fire conditions," said North Port Deputy Fire Chief Scott Titus.

With the wildfire danger being so high - please be vigilant. Report any open burning by calling 911. Be extremely cautious when leaving your car idling along the side of the road - the grass und erneath your car can start on fire quickly. ATV riders who enjoy riding on trails or in the woods should be careful with hot exhaust pipes and sparks when they ride. Never discard cigarettes or other lighted materials.

Florida Forest Service officials say that over 20 percent of all wildfires in Florida are the result of human carelessness or arson. Small fires can quickly get out of control, threatening life and property. Unlike a prescribed burn, a wildfire is an unwanted fire that spreads rapidly. North Port has a city ordinance which addresses burning in the city. For more information on the City Ordinance, visit the City of North Port website www.cityofnorthport.com under City Hall - Fire Rescue.

To minimize the risk of wildfire:

  • Avoid all outside burning - Do not burn yard waste or trash at any time.
  • If you use the burn pans or chimineas available in stores, please be certain the screen spark arrestor is in good condition and is securely in place.
  • Watch barbeque grills at all times and make sure ashes are cold before disposing of them. Placing them in a metal container with water overnight is the best method to ensure they are out.
  • Create a safety zone between your home and combustible plants and vegetation (the fuel) a minimum of 30 feet around the structure. This will reduce exposure to flames and heat and provide firefighters room to work.
  • Fireproof your structure - clean gutters and roof of dry needles and leaves at least twice a year. Do not use pine needles as mulch next to your house.
  • Never leave any fire unattended.
  • Report any suspicious fire by calling 9-1-1.

As with any emergency, have a Family Evacuation Plan.

  • Prepare the family for disaster, such as having emergency evacuation kits ready.
  • Establish and practice your family evacuation plan.
  • Make certain that if you need to evacuate, a friend or relative outside the area knows where you are and how to reach you.

For more information, visit the City of North Port website www.cityofnorthport.com. If you have any questions, please contact North Port Fire Rescue at (941) 240-8150.