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Conditions are Right for Brush Fires This Holiday Weekend

Campfires and fireworks could set off brush fires this weekend. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons
Campfires and fireworks could set off brush fires this weekend. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

The National Weather Service says there’s a high risk of brush fires in Central Florida over Memorial Day weekend.

Meteorologist John Pendergrast says that’s because of dry conditions and low humidity which can make it easier for fires to spread.

"There's a large area of high pressure that's parked over the Southeastern United States. And it's been around for much of this week. And it's going to persist well into next week as well. So that's going to get the weather forecast dry at least into the middle of next week."

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One thing Pendergrast says won’t contribute to fires spreading? Higher temperatures.

He says although the mid to high ninety degree weather might feel balmy, it's normal for this time of year.

But Florida Forest Service Director Jim Karels says with dry grass and other vegetation surrounding homes and parks, people should avoid setting unnecessary fires.

"If you’ve got some leaves that you want to burn in your backyard, just don’t do that. Avoid the yard waste burning because that’s the easiest thing to get away in these conditions."

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Orange County Fire Rescue's Sgt. Lauraleigh Avery says the same goes for setting off fireworks.

"[They're] illegal here and people should not be doing them. When they do them illegally they do possibly set woods on fires or even threats to homes."

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Avery says her department is preparing to respond to fire-related injuries, but she says drunk-driving accidents are just as likely.

She says she’s never worked a holiday weekend without having to attend to a drunk-driving incident. 

AAA is offering free Tow-to Go services through Tuesday for drivers who need a lift free of charge.
If you'd like to listen to the full story, please click on the clip above.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.