During this dry, windy season, fires can spread quickly, but there are precautions you can take to protect your home, and fire departments like the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District are also working to protect you from the flames.
Brush trucks have been a game-changer for firefighters; Lehigh Fire Rescue sends a brush truck out on all of their fire calls along with an engine during dry season, just as a precaution. Fire crews say they have recently noticed a lot of people burning yard waste without paying attention to the setback regulations you need from your house. With weather like this, homeowners need to pay attention.
“I’ve seen over the years, especially more recently, we’re starting to see as soon as we get a little bit of rain people, think ‘OK, it’s over, the drought’s over,'” said Lt. Lee Liedtke with Lehigh Acres Fire Rescue. “We’ll start to see a lot of people that start to trim their yards up. They’ll have a little fire to burn that rubbish; they won’t remember the setbacks and won’t think anything of it.”
Each year, we talk about creating a protective barrier around your house. But there are several other things you can to protect your family and your property.
One of the first things is checking in with your utility company. Make sure the power lines surrounding your home aren’t too close to any brush, and trim it down if they are. Clean out your gutters and clean off your roof; any needles left sitting there can easily spark up a flame and force it to spread fast.
And if you see flames or smoke near your home, turn on those sprinklers.
“During the time of the fire, if there’s a fire the neighborhood, one good thing is if you have yard sprinklers,” Liedtke said. “Turn the yard sprinklers on, that’s actually going to wet down your grass, it’s going to create a wet barrier. Not saying it’s going to be 100%, but it’s definitely going to put a hinder on that low-burning grass fire.”