Volume 1 Number 23
June 7, 2004








During the summer and fall months, Floridians will spend more time outdoors enjoying the state’s beautiful natural resources.  So it’s important to remember that Florida’s natural areas are as vulnerable as they are beautiful. 

Wildfires often begin unnoticed – a match thrown into the brush, a spark from a hot car engine, a lightning strike, a neglected campfire. Fires can spread quickly, igniting brush, trees, and homes. Weather, topography and fuel are the three components that affect the likelihood of a fire starting. Clearing out the fuels – living vegetation and dead plant material -- can help reduce the wildfire threat.

Be aware of the potential hazard around you before wildfire strikes. Plan what to do and where to go if wildfires threaten your area, because during a wildfire time is crucial and resources are limited. Knowing what to do will provide you and your family safety, security and peace of mind.


  • People start most wildfires – learn to practice and promote wildfire safety.
  • Report hazardous conditions that could cause a wildfire.
  • Contact your local fire department or forestry office for information on fire laws.
  • Teach children about fire safety. Keep matches out of their reach.
  • Post fire emergency telephone numbers
  • Mark driveway entrances with your name and address. Make sure that fire vehicles can get to your home.
  • Plan several escape routes away from your home by car and by foot. Choose a safe meeting place for all family members outside of the house.
  • Talk to your neighbors about wildfire safety. Plan how the neighborhood could work together during and after a wildfire.


  • Landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind. Keep brush clear from around the home and plant fire-resistant shrubs and trees to reduce the amount of flammable vegetation in the yard.
  • Use fire resistant or non-combustible materials on the roof and exterior structure of the dwelling. Or, treat wood or combustible material with UL-approved fire-retardant chemicals.
  • Keep leaves, dead limbs and twigs raked and cleared including dead branches over the roof.
  • Ask your power company to clear branches from power lines.
  • Mow grass regularly and remove vines from the walls of the home.
  • Follow local burning regulations.
  • Clear a 10-foot area around any propane tank or barbecue grill.
  • Dispose of stove, fireplace, and grill ashes properly.
  • Store gasoline, oily rags, and other flammable materials in approved safety cans away from buildings.
  • Stack firewood away from your home. Use only UL-approved wood-burning devices.


  • Listen to your battery-operated radio for reports and evacuation information. Follow the instructions of local officials.
  • Park your car in an open space facing the direction of escape with the key in the ignition.
  • Make plans to care for your pets in case you must evacuate.
  • Arrange temporary housing at the home of a friend or relative away from the threatened area.
  • Choose a route away from fire hazards. Watch for changes in the speed and direction of fire and smoke.



Wildfire and other types of disasters -- hurricane, flood, tornado, hazardous materials spill -- can strike quickly and without warning. You can cope with disaster by preparing in advance and working together.


Create a disaster plan and meet regularly with your family to practice your home escape plan.

Have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call for help. Visit the Florida State Fire Marshal’s website for more information at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/sfm.