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Updated: 5:33 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013 | Posted: 9:10 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, 2013
By Gene Wexler
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —
As the cold front brings Northeast Florida more winds and dry air, it also brings an increased risk for wildfires.
“Be extremely careful and not do any outdoor burning when the winds are blowing and the grass is dry,” says Annalisa Winter, a wildfire mitigation specialist for the Florida Forest Service.
Winter says wildfire risk increases when it freezes and the grass gets crunchy.
“That’s when it can quickly catch a spark from even a barbeque or working outdoors and burning debris, anything like that,” she says. “And it can quickly carry off into nearby wooded areas.”
Winter says wind is the major concern.
“Whenever we have strong, gusty winds like that, it’s very simple for a fire to get away,” she says.
As we continue to go more days without rain, drought conditions are increased.
“And any time we get strong winds like this it really does whip some moisture out of the soil and out of the plants,” Winter says.
Right now she says conditions look pretty good. The drought index shows that Nassau County is drier than Clay County right now, and Duval is in between the two.
“Conditions are looking pretty good in Clay County which is usually the driest part of our district this time of year,” Winter says.
But Winter says as we get further into the fire season, things start to dry out a little bit more, and we’ll start to see more wildfires popping up.
CLICK HERE to check Florida’s drought index by county.
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