‘We are really dry right now:’ Seminole County fire officials warn of wildfire risk

County is on an elevated brush response as a result of the dry, hot weather.

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Officials with the Seminole County Fire Department said there are many small factors that will contribute to an increased wildfire risk in the coming days.

“We’ve completely stopped our prescribed burning, and we’ve more towards definitely taking a more defensive a stance on fires,” said SCFD Lieutenant, Ryan Hart.

The stop on prescribed burns comes as Central Florida enters a stretch of heat, low humidity and some increased wind speeds.

“We really look at these weather conditions,” Hart said. “We’ve noticed they’re getting hotter, drier, higher wind things that are conducive for large fire growth.”

The county is now on an elevated brush response as a result of the dry, hot weather.

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“We’re sending more units,” Hart said. “Any smoke investigation and any call we send more resources. We try and get a jump on it because if you can catch a small fire when it’s small, that’s your best chance.”

Lieutenant Ryan Hart is a part of the prescribed burn team with the Seminole County Fire Department.

He said even though they saw historic flooding from Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, wooded areas in Seminole County are now extremely dry.

“We are seeing an increase in call load,” Hart said. “We’re seeing an increase in activity when they do start and it’s becoming more difficult to actually contain and control them in the beginning, which can lead to bad fire growth that we want to avoid.”

Hart said debris left behind from Hurricanes Ian and Nicole have presented a new challenge preparing for this fire season.

“You’ve got to think about too where nobody is, and all those downed trees, and fuel that’s now on the ground to a surface fire and available where it wasn’t previously, that is a very big concern,” Hart said.

He said even though there isn’t a burn ban in place, he’s asking the public to be extra cautious with the current conditions.

“We are really dry right now,” Hart said. “We are seeing several conditions just lining up each day that could cause severe wildfire.”

To learn more about how to protect your home this wildfire season, click here.

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Emily joined WKMG-TV in November 2022.