When you think of large wildfires that make the news, you probably think of California or somewhere else in the Southwest. Florida is a peninsula that sits surrounded by water and normally plenty of humidity. This means tropical rains are fairly common and the fire danger is normally low. An extended dry pattern is making the norm far from reality.
Drought conditions and local brush fires might even get worse due to more dry weather and winds helping to fuel the flames. Blowing on a wildfire does not put it out, it just helps to oxygenate the flames and spread the fire to new places.
The video above shows a man trying to save his home from one of the fires as it came into his property. Unfortunately the garden hose was not enough. Even the major firefighting efforts with helicopters and planes dropping water and fire retardant has not been enough to full slowly down the different fires.
The blaze is worst near the Gulf Coast portion of the Sunshine State near Naples. Mandatory evacuations were in effect for more than 6,000 structures in Collier county. The fire damage is severe in spots. You can see the smoke fill the air around the palm trees ahead of where the flames are.
There was a little relief Sunday morning with a small low pressure system tracking across Florida bringing rain. Some spots in the southern half of the state even saw some periods of moderate to heavy rain. This will help slow down some fires and put others out, but we need this pattern to continue to end the wildfire threat. This is not going to happen.
The weather pattern that is setting up will not be friendly. Expect more hot temperatures with highs soaring into the 90s. Dry conditions will set up for the rest of April and into May. Winds will increase, which could once again fan the flames. Weather systems have been more active to the north of Florida. The Tennessee Valley saw plenty of rain just yesterday. An area of high pressure will keep the systems mainly to the north.
The drier area will remain around Naples, Orlando, Fort Myers and Tampa. This year has been much drier than average with less than 50 percent of their normal rainfall.
Most wildfires are initially caused by humans. We can all do our part by not tossing out lit cigarettes and making sure to put out campfires. Take the time to care about Mother Nature and there will be less threats.
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