WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. - A 15-acre brush fire in Wesley Chapel is serving as an opportunity for firefighters to remind residents we are now in brush fire season and drought like conditions are helping spark fires.
Pasco County Forest Area Supervisor Kawika Bailey said March thru June is the peak fire season but fires have been popping up since mid-February.
"The fire weather forecast for this winter was predicted to be relatively wet and that didn't occur and so we have a mixture of dry conditions and today we had a front move in which created high winds, low humidity and high dispersion," explained Bailey.
As fire crews worked to contain the brush fire, a portion of Meadow Pointe Boulevard between S.R. 56 and Chancey Road was shutdown to traffic.
Tania Frost was unable to get to her home via car.
"My neighborhood is close and I didn't know where it was spreading," said Frost.
Knowing how dry it is outside, Frost took precautions at her home.
"We make sure that all of our trees are cut up and our hedges and bushes are cleaned out of weeds and any debris or anything that might blow up," she explained.
Fire crews recommend homeowners who are near the wild land urban interface have at least 30 feet of defensible space around their house. That means no vegetation within 30 feet of your home
"Not only is that a fire break from keeping fire from running straight up to your house but it allows access for fire equipment apparatus to get behind your home," Bailed explained.
Wednesday's fire was contained in an hour. There were no injuries and no evacuations. The origin of the fire was traced back to a tent. Fire fighters are not clear whether or not the fire was started accidentally or intentionally.
"We are seeing a lot of careless. It is dry out. Be careful," Bailey said.
Bailey said the best thing people can do is use common sense. He offered an example of not burning a pile of leaves on a windy day where embers can fly.
BRUSH FIRE PREVENTION TIPS
- Consistently monitor defensible space for maximum fire prevention
- Remove flash fuels such as dead grass
- Trim grass and foliage around trees
- Do not stack wood near your home
- Do not throw cigarette butts out your car window or into grassy areas
- Keep a rolled up garden hose with a nozzle attached to an outside hose valve connection