NewsPasco County


Experts say brush fire season in Florida could be worse than last year

Extra trucks will go to calls
Posted at 7:36 PM, Mar 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-06 03:16:43-05

Sunday, Pasco Fire Rescue had a quick moving brush fire on their hands.

It happened near Becaon Woods Drive and US 19.

“It grew fast. It grew very fast," said Division Chief Shawn Whited.

Thankfully. crews were already at a nearby house dealing with another fire. So they were able to get to this one quick and put it out before any homes were threatened.

Officials say it started from an out of control campfire from at a homeless encampment.

“That can grow to hundreds of acres if we are not careful with that," said Whited.

Last year was a busy fire season, with some major fires including one in the Starkey Wilderness Preserve that burned more than 3,000 acres.

“It was a bad fire season last year, and they are calling for a worse fire season this year.”

Some of the reasons include Hurricane Irma.

All those downed trees and brush make for good tinder. Not to mention the freezes we’ve had recently.  That kills off a lot of vegetation too.

Officials all around Tampa Bay are doing prescribed burns to try and get rid of all dead stuff.

But there’s no foolproof guarantee.

“The fire never happens where we have a prescribed burn, It always happens where we didn’t. There’s still a lot of undeveloped land in Pasco County, so there’s still a lot of potential for large brush fires,” Pasco Fire says.

They will send extra crews and trucks to every brush call out, just in case. There is no burn ban in place yet. So if you are burning on own, keep it away from your house, in barrel, and have water nearby.

Experts say protect your home by creating a buffer between the house and any wooded area.

And get rid of any dry grass, brush, dead leaves and pine needles.