DeLand, FL - Soil conditions in both Volusia and Flagler counties, as well as the rest of east central Florida are considered to be abnormally dry. With that in mind, Volusia County Fire Rescue is asking residents to practice fire safety in and around their homes.
“We haven’t had significant rainfall in several weeks, and vegetation throughout the county is drying out,” noted Volusia County Fire Chief Howard Bailey. “We will review the weather every morning and set the response levels accordingly in conjunction with the Florida Forest Service.”
Volusia County’s Keetch-Byram Drought Index is 361, up from 190 on Jan. 15. The drought index measures soil dryness on a scale of 1 to 800, with one being saturation and 800 being desert-dry.
Bailey urges residents to be cautious with outdoor activities and offers these wildfire safety tips:
Practice wildfire safety
- Do not discard cigarettes from moving vehicles; use ashtrays.
- When pulling off the side of the road, stay off dry grass areas.
- Do not operate all-terrain vehicles on dry vegetation areas.
- Check lawnmowers and farm equipment for properly working spark arresters.
- Properly extinguish fires when cooking outdoors and never leave fires unattended.
- People start most wildfires. Promote and practice fire safety with all members of your family.
- Clearly mark all driveway entrances with name and address.
- Plan several escape routes away from your home both by car and on foot.
Protect your home
- Design and landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind. Allow a 30-foot buffer of non-combustible material around your home.
- Use non-combustible materials on the roof and regularly clean the roof and gutters.
- Teach family members how to use a fire extinguisher. Install and regularly test smoke detectors.
- Inspect chimneys twice a year and clean them once a year.
- Rake leaves and dead limbs and twigs. Clear all flammable vegetation.
- Have a garden hose long enough to reach any area of your home and property.
When wildfire threatens
- Listen to the media or your NOAA Weather Alert radio for Civil Emergency Messages about where the danger is.
- Prepare your family, pets, and supplies in case you have to evacuate.
- If told to evacuate, DO SO IMMEDIATELY.
- If evacuating, tell someone you are leaving and where you are going. Drive away from fire hazards and listen to public safety officials. WILDFIRE SEASON is coming, do YOU have a PLAN? Ready-Set-Go, saving lives and property through advanced planning. Click here for your personal wildfire action plan.