Repeated hard freezes have combined with existing drought conditions to provide an abundance of lightweight fuel for wildfires such as grasses and forest shrubs. A lack of rainfall, low relative humidity and breezy afternoon winds only aggravate the situation, according to the Department of Forestry.
It doesn’t take much to kindle a fire in these dry conditions.
Two brush fires broke out within minutes of each other on Tuesday and both briefly endangered nearby homes. The first ignited on Hexam Road, north of State Road 50, when an outside cooking fire got out of control.
Flames burned right in the middle of several acre plots with houses and burned up the grass that was supplying food for livestock.
Shortly after firefighters had control of that blaze another cropped up on Gordon Loop, east of Brooksville. DeFrancesco said sparks from a drill started that one.
DeFrancesco and other fire officials will ask county commissioners at their Jan. 24 meeting for a total burn ban in the county. This outlaws virtually all outdoor fires until further notice.