Lack of rain and possible lightning increases brush fire risk

Reporter: Nicole Gabe, Taylor Smith Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
24th ave brush fire
Credit: WINK News

Lightning is one of the threats that could spark a brush fire. But also the lack of rain in recent weeks isn’t helping either.

A brush fire in Golden Gate Estates on Monday caused people to evacuate. And that was just one of many fires in Collier County during the holiday weekend.

When it’s dry homeowners in Golden Gate Estates get nervous.

Rebecca Headlees has lived in Golden Gate Estates for three years and she’s already a veteran of brush fires.

“It’s so scary. It’s traumatizing because I have two kids and two dogs and it’s just hard when you have to grab all your stuff and just go,” Headlees said. “We grab what we can and that’s the most we can do.”

This Memorial Day’s fire is her third and it’s her third evacuation.

“I started to get all my stuff, and I started to leave, I start going down the driveway and they said ‘OK you need to go now,'” she said.

This specific fire sparked along 24th Ave SE near DeSoto Blvd in Golden Gate Estates. The WINK News Drought Index Map showsSouthwest Florida is three to seven inches drier than average. Melinda Avni works with Florida Forest Service and says this is concerning.

“It is definitely very dry. It’s drier than normal,” Avni said.

While rainy season has begun, that also brings lightning.

“As the rain comes, so does the lightning. And we need to be very careful right now with anything that omits a spark because of how dry it is and also be cautious in paying attention,” said Avni. “This is that time where we want the rain to hit where the lightning hits, to help keep things even and balanced as possible.”

Avni says slow and steady rain is what we need to dampen these dry conditions.

“We wanted to soak into the soil. So that rain has to get into the soil then filter through the soil, get through that clay layer so it’s going into that underground water table and still filling the soil with enough moisture,” she said.

Avni says we should prepare for brushfires the same way we do for hurricanes. Make sure to have a bag ready to go, just in case you need to evacuate.

For more evacuation information, you can follow either of these links.

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