Friday, 11 May 2007 01:00
Drought's Affects on FirefightingWritten by WGCU Newsroom
Firefighters and forestry officials are still working to contain the large fire in Picayune Strand in Collier County. It’s burned about 17-thousand 5-hundred acres and destroyed three homes. It’s now mostly contained, but wind and a lack of rain continue to work against firefighters.
And severe drought conditions across south Florida give firefighters an extra challenge while fighting wildfires. Wildfire mitigation specialist with the Florida Division of Forestry – Gerry LaCavera - says low water levels can be a logistic problem…
“Access to water can be a problem especially when we’re using air support or ground tankers to fill up brush trucks as we are here. Some canals in the area just don’t have enough water to draft out of, or if we had the helicopter here there would only be certain water sources the helicopter could dip out of to get a supply of water. So the lower levels of water make the turnaround time increased in some cases. Slower we get water to either the brush trucks or to our helicopter onto the fire, the longer it’s going to take to contain it. So it’s just one of those logistic problems that adds to our problems out here.“
The Picayune Fire has closed I-75…that’s Alligator Alley…from CR 951 south all the way to SR 29 several times over the past few days. It’s currently open…and is expected to stay so, at least for the time being.
LaCavera says the fire was likely sparked by lightning.