Residents in north Brevard County in the communities of Port St. John and Canaveral Groves were introduced to the devastating effects of wildfires over a four-day period, burning over 5,000 acres. Hot spots are still present in these communities and the wildfire, although pushing westward into Orange County, is still active.
Units from Titusville Fire and Emergency Services were requested by Brevard County Fire Rescue, under mutual aid agreements, to respond to assist in controlling the fires. "We were glad to be of assistance", reported Titusville Fire Chief Rick Talbert, "because the next time wildfire strikes, it may be Titusville requesting assistance from Brevard County or Cocoa or Melbourne Fire Departments. As anyone saw who watched the media reports on this brush fire knows. it took an incredible amount of equipment, firefighters, and inter-agency cooperation to protect lives and property."
"This recent wildfire should also serve as a reminder to all of us that we are not immune to this type of threat. Drought conditions are anticipated to continue through at least May and our area is vulnerable until constant summer rains eliminate wildfire conditions. Until then, I urge Titusville citizens to be extra vigilant about conditions that ignite or sustain wildfires. Discard smoking materials correctly and safely; monitor outdoor grilling closely; beware of heated engines (lawnmowers, ATVs and vehicles) around dry grasses; and protect the perimeter of your own home by taking protective measures."
DIVISION OF FORESTRY - PROTECTIVE MEASURES
"WHEN WE TELL YOU TO EVACUATE, LEAVE, EVEN IF THE FIRE SEEMS DISTANT. THESE BLAZES ARE TERRIBLY UNPREDICTABLE, ESPECIALLY WHEN WINDS ARE HIGH. HOT DEBRIS CAN BE BLOWN A MILE, THEN START A FIRE NEAR HOMES WHERE PEOPLE THOUGHT THEY WERE SAFE. IT'S CRAZY TO WAIT, ASSUMING YOU HAVE TIME TO GET OUT. THESE THINGS DON'T CHURN AROUND OUT THERE FOR TWO WEEKS, LIKE HURRICANES," SAID GERRY LAcAVERA, A SPOKESPERSON FOR THE FLORIDA DIVISION OF FORESTRY. "FIRES CAN CHANGE AT A MOMENT'S NOTICE."
ONLY IF TIME ALLOWS...
For more information on protective wildfire measures you can take, go to the Emergency Management section of our city's website or http://www.floridadisaster.org/ and click on FIREWISE.