Temperatures are beginning to rise and there isn’t much rain falling from the sky, which means Southwest Florida’s fire season is just around the corner.
“We see the natural wetlands drying down and it’s part of the cycle. Like warm and cold up north, it’s wet and dry down here,” said Win Everham, a professor of ecology and environmental science at Florida Gulf Coast University.
He said fire season is just one part of living here but it’s important that it’s managed.
“There’s this Goldilocks concept in ecology that it would be bad for these landscapes to have no fire because they’re used to fire. And it’s bad for the landscape to have too much fire that is too hot.”
He’s worried about this wildfire season, in particular; not only because of how dry it’s gotten in such a short period of time, but more people will be outside now that it has been deemed safer to be outside during the pandemic.
“Sometimes humans are ignorant or stupid, and so we do things at this time of year, sometimes burning brush; it’s not OK because the environment around us is so hot or so dry, it’s real easy to touch off and get out of control.”
He does want people to enjoy nature but to do so safely. “It all has to do with our actions, right? There’s nothing inherently dangerous about humans spending more time in nature. As a matter of fact, it would be good for us; we just have to be smart about it.”
If you are going camping, Everham has some advice from his Scout days. He says they always had a bucket of water to put out the fire, and once the fire is out, if you’re not able to put your hand in it, you shouldn’t leave it that way.