Dry weather triggers early brush fire
SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A brush fire that spread across Southwest Miami-Dade Sunday has sparked concerns about the upcoming dry season across the region.
The blaze tore through 35 acres of an open lot on Southwest 119th Avenue and 226th Terrace, Sunday afternoon. Part of the terrain, located close to local homes, still smoldered Monday evening.
It has been weeks since the area has seen enough rain that would make a difference in reducing these kind of fires. "I would say this [area] is very, very dry," said Gary Lewis, supervisor at the Department of Forestry.
The flames could have begun from a person's mistake, and they spread quickly. "A cigarette in the grass, with the winds and the cars, could ignite a brush fire," said Lewis.
The flames almost completely reduced the corner lot to black ashes. A section that still had green foliage marks the spot where firemen were able to lay down a line and prevent the fire from spreading further.
Speed is firefighters' best defense when knocking down fast-moving flames. "If we have an early start on the fire, we can get a better handle on it," Lewis said.
When flames come dangerously close to populated areas, residents have to come up with their own defense tactics, such as soaking their yards with water. "Close the windows, wet the yard, race across the street," said homeowner James Ezell. "We can go in and help some homeowners clear around their areas," Lewis added.
The best offensive, when it comes to brush fires, Lewis continued, is being vigilant so they can be prevented in the first place. "People need to watch out when engaging in any kind of barbecue activity, be careful with any kind of burning near vacant lands," he said.
Forestry experts said it is very unlikely that the small area still smoldering from Sunday's brush fire will spark again because it is surrounded by charred terrain. Since this is the beginning of the dry season, they also suggest removing any loose branches or dry leaves from front yards and backyards. If you see any flames igniting, they advise to call 911 immediately.
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