FORT MYERS, Fla. The smell of smoke permeating Southwest Florida on Friday was due to two fires that have left fire officials concerned that dry conditions will result in more blazes.
“To me this dry, this early, we’re about 200 points higher than we normally are,” said Chief Larry Nisbet with the Bayshore Fire Department. “I haven’t seen it this dry since 1998.”
A prescribed fire was set in Charlotte County, and four firefighters from the Caloosahatchee Forestry Center were sent to the Lakeland area to help contain a fire, said Samantha Quinn with the Florida Forest Service.
“We recommend you only contact 911 if you see an active smoke column or visible flames,” she said.
Smoke from both fires have spread as far south as Naples due to winds blowing from the north, WINK Weather Meteorologist Zach Maloch said.
There have been 170 wildfires across the state since Jan. 1, burning 1,297 acres of land, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Nisbet, the fire chief, believes more fires are coming.
“My prediction is that we’re going to have more of a significant wild land fire season this year,” she said.