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Prepare for Fire Watch
01/26/10 - 10:21 PM
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Jessi Chapin - bio
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click for larger image Bay County, Fla:

It’s a busy day for Bay County firefighters after two different structures went up in flames Tuesday afternoon.  It’s also a situation firefighters say may be more likely in the days to come, as low humidity and wind conditions pick up around the Panhandle.

“We’ve had structure fires that wound up as wildfires when the structure was out of control so it’s very possible with high winds anything can happen,” said Bay County Fire Department Deputy Chief Brad Monroe. 

With a fire watch issued for Wednesday afternoon, they are bracing themselves for whatever surprises it may bring.

“Critical fire conditions are possible so folks need to pay close attention to the weather,” said Monroe, “I would be very careful with any type of fire that I light outside.  There’s also precautions you can take to prevent your home from becoming involved in a wild land fire.”

Florida’s Division of Forestry does have some tips anyone can do now to prevent fire spreading to their homes in the future:

- Create a buffer zone for vegetation at least 30 ft. away from your home from any nearby forestry.
- Trim and limit medium-height vegetation neary your home.
- Avoid “stair-stepping” vegetation that would allow a fire to sweep up toward the rooftops.

Monroe says some trees that grow naturally in Florida, like Palmettos are extremely flammable.

“Be careful with what type of vegetation you plant near your home,” he said, “trim the trees away from your home and the trees in your yard also trim them up around 15 feet to keep them from becoming involved if a fire comes across your yard.”

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