Extreme heat, drought cause dangerous fire conditions

You're asked to be extra careful grilling out during holiday weekend

By Brittany Muller - Reporter, Roxy Tyler - Web producer
FreeImages.com/Jerry Attrick

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Temps are high and the ground is dry -- perfect conditions for a fire to start. Experts are warning you to take extra precautions this Memorial Day weekend to avoid any type of a spark that could easily become a raging fire.

"People need to realize how dry it is and how easy it is to start a fire," said Senior Forest Ranger David Sechrist.

He's been on the front lines of the Yellow Bluff Fire that's burning along the Duval and Nassau County lines and said even the smallest spark could ignite a fire.

"My advice to people, for Memorial Day weekend especially, I know you guys wanna have a good time, barbecue, things like that, but the fireworks and stuff -- be very cautious," Sechrist said.

If you plan to barbecue, never leave the grill unattended. If you are going to be using fireworks, do not light them on grass and keep a fire extinguisher or water hose on hand.

Remember, it's against the Florida law to light off any fireworks that leave the ground. Even sparklers can be dangerous if not disposed of properly. Experts suggest you keep a bucket of water handy and place used sparklers in the bucket for disposal.

And it's not just cooking and fireworks that can spark fires.

"If you’re mowing and you hit a rock and it sparks, any of that type of stuff can start a fire," Sechrist said.

News4Jax meteorologists said the fire danger will build with the heat as the sun is strong this time of year. They also say we don't have a lot of moisture in the atmosphere right now, which adds to the potential fire danger.

A burn ban is in effect in Nassau County until further notice. Duval County has a permanent burn ban in effect.

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