Monday, 04 June 2007 01:00
Tropical Storm Barry's ImpactWritten by WGCU Newsroom
While it may have seemed like we got a lot of rain over the weekend, water managers say it will take many more Tropical Storm Barry’s to pull the region out of its record drought. But fire officials are thanking the tropical system for helping them contain several area wildfires.
Some areas of the Florida received up to 7 inches of rain as Barry swept across the state. Here in southwest Florida rain gauges showed between 1 and 3 inches of rain on Friday and Saturday.
Wildfire Mitigation Specialist with the Florida Division of Forestry – Jerry LaCavera – says that was enough to cool several large fires they’d been battling.
“We actually got enough rain so that we were able to put the level of containment on both the Hendry County fire and the Picayune Strand fire that was still open at 100-percent containment. The fire in Big Cypress was also able to move to 95-percent containment because of help we got from the rain.”
LaCavera says Barry’s rains will help keep the wildfire risk down for a few days at least, but that it’s still extremely dry and the fire risk still increased. And water managers say Barry did nothing to change their long-term outlook…and that water use restrictions are still in place, across South Florida.
Barry’s rains helped firefighters get a handle on several large fires they’d been battling in recent weeks. The fire in Collier County in the Picayune Strand State Forest is now considered 100-percent contained, as is another fire that had been burning in Hendry County.
Jerry LaCavera is Wildfire Mitigation Specialist with the Florida Division of Forestry. He says Barry solved an immediate need for moisture in critical areas, but that what’s really needed is a return to typical rain patterns.
“These once in a while large events are nice, but a lot of that water does run off because the ground’s so hard. We need the duration of rain to hit so they can soak in, do the good, and get both the water management water tables back up to where they belong, and the vegetation fully moisturized so we can lower the wildfire risk that way.”
LaCavera says the wildfire risk will be a bit lower over the next few days, but that the long-term outlook is still quite dry.
Water managers are reminding residents that Barry’s showers had no effect on water use restrictions…which are still in effect across South Florida.