Wildfire Hazards for Homeowners
It isn't the unofficial "wildfire season" yet, but there have been 943 wildfires so far this year across the state.
One of them was the Hopkins Prairie fire that destroyed 24 structures in Marion County earlier this month.
On the surface it seems wildfires burn random homes, but there is a method to its madness.
"Looked out across the prairie and it was coming right at us. There was nothing we could do, but get what we could and grab it and go," said Marie Peacock.
Peacock remembers the day she lost her uninsured home to the Hopkins Prairie wildfire.
Peacock said she's worked hard to maintain her yard as a way to protect her home from such a fire and she strongly believes there's a reason her house didn't survive.
"Because there were lots next to mine that weren't up kept. There was just brush everywhere and it was so dry," said Peacock.
The fire burned near some homes, but did not destroy them.
Ludie Bond of the Florida Division of Forestry said there are ways to protect your home. Especially if you live in a rural area.
Let's start with defensible space. Meaning having at least 30 feet of space surrounding your home where there is no flammable materials, no dead plants and a clean and green yard.
"Looking at your building construction, where are the weak spots that fire can take advantage of and feed on. Is it where there's opening where the fire embers can get up underneath the structure, up underneath a barn or shed, your home? Could it travel along the fence line," said Bond.
Clearing debris on your roof can also reduce your fire threat.
"Consider the type of vegetation they are going to use and use less flammable vegetation," said Jessica Greene who is the Public Information Officer for Marion County Fire Rescue.
Dog wood, oaks and ferns are less flammable plans.
Access is also something you should think about.
"Can resources get in? Can firefighting resources get in? Can you get out? What is your plan when you get out? What will you take with you," said Bond.
While wildfires are unpredicatble, residents like Peacock believe protecting your the homes in the neighborhood should be a group effort.
"Everyone has to take care of it. A lot of them in here try to, but when you got lots that are not taken care of that's when you get your problems," said Peacock.
Here are some websites you can visit to get more information on wildfire hazards for Florida homeowners.
- Hopkin's Prairie Fire Tears Through More than 19-Hundred Acres in Marion County
- Hopkins Prairie Fire
- Protect Your Home from Wildfires
- Wildfires Continue to Threaten Calif. Homes
- First Human Case of West Nile in Alachua County
- Fla. Homeowner Fatally Shoots Invader
- Outbreak at Marion County School is Norovirus
- Fugitive From Alachua County Captured in Wyoming
- Navigators Barred From County Health Departments
- Marion County Man Dies in House Fire