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Council’s Corner: Education, prevention is key to keeping fire risk at a minimum

April 5, 2017
By LEHIGH ACRES COMMUNITY COUNCIL , Lehigh Acres Citizen

As everyone in Lehigh Acres and most of South Florida is aware, it's dry! We are below average on the rain scale. We all know rainy season is just around the corner, but we need to do all we can to keep our family and community prepared and protected now.

Florida residents often choose to live in areas prone to wildfires. They must take responsibility to lower their wildfire risk. This is certainly the case in Lehigh Acres. We have huge areas of undeveloped land that is overflowing with trees and brush.

At this time, we are in the midst of a severe drought in Lee County. Only isolated rain is expected over the next few weeks. The result of this is that the canals stay lower; brush and grass die and turn to kindle, creating a higher risk of brush fires. While often times we may not be aware of behaviors that can lead to a fire, we want to do all we can to prevent it. A vehicle backfiring on the side of a road over dead grass, a tossed cigarette, or an unattended fire pit are just a few ways a fire can quickly start and spread.

Education and prevention is the key to keeping our risk at a minimum. Create a plan for your family. Make a defensible space around your home.

Here are some tips that will help keep you and your family safe during this time:

- Keep tree branches trimmed away from roofs and gutters.

- Remove dead vegetation from around the home.

- Plant less flammable, ornamental vegetation next to structures and use chunky mulch or gravel.

- Maintain a working irrigation system around structures and use it according to local water restrictions.

- Cover eaves and other openings with wire mesh no larger than 1/8th of an inch.

- Keep combustible items away from structures.

- Overgrown vegetation around boats, ATVs and sheds is just as dangerous as vegetation near homes.

- Do not leave unattended chemicals in the truck of vehicle.

- Keep driveways at least 12 feet wide and free of overhanging branches and overgrown plants that may hinder emergency response.

- Check your smoke alarms twice a year.

- Make a plan with your family and practice it. Know where you would meet and how to get out if a fire does impact you.

- Do not discard cigarettes out of moving vehicles or set off fireworks unattended.

- Stay vigilant when using a fire pit, do not leave it unattended.

The Lehigh Acres Community Council discusses matters of concern to Lehigh Acres. New members with ideas and positive input are welcome. Meetings are held on the third Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Lehigh Acres Sheriff's Office East District substation, at 1301 Homestead Road N. For more information, email Info@LehighAcresCommunityCouncil.com.

 
 

 

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