Hurricane Irma affects fire intensity

PALMDALE — Over the weekend, county and state firefighters suppressed three large wildfires in western Glades County. Hurricane Irma had toppled many large pine trees in Glades County, increasing the size, complexity and intensity of all three of these wildfires because of widespread destruction of vegetation.

“The extra vegetation on the forest floor adds more fuel for the wildfires,” explained Forest Area Supervisor Joe deBree. “In addition, the downed hurricane vegetation can pose a hazard to firefighters; the equipment can get wedged on snapped trunks and limbs. Fortunately, no homes were threatened in any of these wildfires, so firefighters had the time to assess each wildfire thoroughly and contemplated strategies to safely combat the abundance of dried-out hurricane debris.”

Lightning has been eliminated as a cause to all three of these wildfires. If the public has any information on the origin of these wildfires, please contact your local Florida Forest Service office at 863-467-3221.

Special to the Glades County Democrat/Courtesy photo
There were three wildfires fought in Glades County on April 28.

In Muse community, 50-acre Beehive Wildfire

Sunday’s Beehive Wildfire was located west of the Saturday, April 28, Gallberry Wildfire. With westerly prevailing winds, the Beehive Wildfire merged into the Gallberry Wildfire.

The Beehive wildfire was reported at 4:37 p.m. and was west of Kirby Thompson Road, south of Loblolly Bay Road.

The fire was contained at 7:57 p.m.

The cause of fire was under investigation at the time of the press release. There were no evacuations, road closures, threats or injuries.

Northwest of LaBelle, the 94-acre Gallberry Wildfire

The Gallberry Wildfire, located in Glades County south of Loblolly Bay Road and West of Kirby Thompson Road, was reported on Saturday, April 28, at 2:56 p.m.

The fire was 100 percent contained at 4:19 p.m.

Ortona – 200-acre Ortona Eucalyptus Wildfire

The Eucalyptus Wildfire located in Glades County west of U.S. 27 and Wayman Road was reported on Saturday, April 28, at 4:38 p.m.

The fire was 100 percent contained at 7:35 p.m.

The cause of the fires were under investigation at the time of the press release. There were no evacuations, road closures, threats or injuries.

The Glades County Fire Department assisted the Florida Forest Service at each fire.

If you live near nature, then you can be at risk for wildfire danger. Take the time to remove anything that will burn from your roof and gutters. That includes pine needles, leaves, small twigs and palm fronds. Be sure there is nothing flammable against the sides of your home. Be sure to use plants that are not highly flammable around your home. Keep the area within 30 feet of your home picked up, mowed and watered within the guidelines of local water management.

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