10 wildfires reported in area over holiday weekend
Published: Monday, January 3, 2011 at 3:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 3, 2011 at 3:50 p.m.
The small amount of rain that fell over the holiday weekend was not enough to overcome human carelessness.
Division of Forestry officials said 10 wildfires — all 25 acres or less — were reported in a five-county region. One of the blazes destroyed one home and damaged four others in Levy County.
“The causes of these fires were all really varied and all preventable,” said division spokeswoman Ludie Bond. “More often we have been seeing these caused by carelessness, not intentionally set.”
The region that Bond was talking about covers Alachua, Marion, Putnam, Levy and Gilchrist counties. According to the National Weather Service, the system that crossed the region on Saturday dropped about a tenth of an inch of rain in most places, but slightly more in some areas. The 800 point drought index, with 800 marking the total absence of moisture, remained above 650 in most places, officials said.
Bond said the one factor that favors firefighters this week is that “the winds are not as strong. We are not getting the 20 mile per hour winds gusting like we did on Saturday.”
The most significant fire during the three-day New Year’s Day holiday weekend was reported in southern Levy County. Officials said a 25-acre fire at 20048 SE 111th Terrace in Inglis remained under investigation on Monday. The fire was reported around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, and before it was controlled had destroyed one home, damaged four others and threatened four more. The fire also destroyed three outbuildings.
Although a cause had not been determined for the Inglis fire, Bond said several others had unique starts. Among the causes of weekend fires were: taking ashes out of an indoor fireplace and dumping them in woods near the home; a lawnmower igniting dead grass; a lit cigarette flicked onto the side of the road; fireworks that set a car on fire and then the burning car ignited the grass it was parked on; and sparks from welding equipment.
Many areas remain under a mandatory burn ban due to the dry conditions. Residents are urged to contact their fire department to determine if they are in an area where there is a burn ban.
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.