A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire in an area of combustible vegetation that occurs in the countryside or a wilderness area. Although often occurring in wildland areas, wildfires can also consume houses or agricultural resources. Wildfires can be accidentally begun, naturally caused, or intentionally created (arson). A firestorm can form as a consequence of a very large fire, in which the central column of rising heated air induces strong inward winds, which supply oxygen to the fire.

Wildfires often begin unnoticed and spread quickly igniting brush, trees, and homes. A single fire can burn up thousands of homes and acres, endangering lives and causing great environmental and property losses. Due to the relatively dry winters and springs of south Florida, the threat of wildfires is increased during the months of March through May when we have prolonged periods of little to no rain.

Many wildfires are the result of human activities. Follow the advice of forestry and fire safety officials to avoid causing wildfires!

  • Teach fire safety to children and keep matches and lighters out of their reach.
  • Do not leave campfires unattended.
  • Don't park vehicles in high grass. Hot catalytic converters or tailpipes can start fires when in contact with dry brush.
  • Be careful when discarding cigarettes, matches and barbecue coals. Make sure they are extinguished properly before disposing of them.
  • Keep 9 Volt batteries stored in their original packages or with the ends covered. When throwing them away, wrap the tops with electrical tape. Allowing the exposed ends to come in contact with metal can start a fire.
  • Maintaining your landscaping and keeping your property clear of debris is an easy way to prevent or reduce fire damages to your home.
  • Clear dead leaves from gutters, decks, and porches regularly.
  • Do not burn yard waste on hot, windy days.
  • Keep flammable plants and woodpiles away from your home. If it can catch fire, don’t let it touch your house!
Bugaboo Forest Fire. Photo Curtesy of Mark Wolfe, FEMA
Fire On Refuges. Photo Credit USFWS

Palm Bay Wildfire. Photo credit Michelle Haro

Visit these websites for more information about wildfires and steps to take to keep your family safe: (

American Red Cross (



Automated system that sends emergency notifications by email and/or telephone.




Information is the key to developing hazard awareness and keeping families safe. Download the Hurricane Safety Guide.

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