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Dry October means high risk for wildfires

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Updated: 10/20/2010 11:24 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Our area hasn't seen any rain for weeks, and the risk for wildfires remains high.

Action News has learned there are two new wildfires burning in northeast Florida. One is in Clay County off county road 218 and one in Oceanway near First Coast high school.

Right now, we are 15 inches below our average rainfall for the year. It's really showing. You can just feel how dry the trees are.The needles just fall right off. You can hear the leaves crunch under your feet from being too dry. It hasn't rained since September. One simple spark could cause a brush fire to start and quickly get out of hand. That's why homeowners like Salvatore Corvo are concerned. He lives near the woods and he's already had a close call. "We came from North Carolina and we had a wildfire not to far from our residence up there," said Corvo.

Even Wednesday, crews worked quickly to put out a house fire on Mill Creek Lane in Arlington. They were worried it would spread to a wooded area nearby, and start a much bigger fire. It's those concerns that have the Florida Division of Forestry working overtime. "If a lightning strike hits, with as dry as it's been, there's a good chance, we'll have a fire," said Annaleasa Winter with the Division of Forestry.

Winter sat down with Corvo and other neighbors to explain how they can prevent some brush fires from even starting. "It's very important this time of year to clean off the roof. This dry dead material is extremely flammable." She also says don't burn things in your yard. "If you're lips are dry, it's too dry to burn."

That's what homeowners are trying to prevent to keep their homes and families safe. "We're really concerned. If we have a fire, we know we may have a potential problem," said Corvo.

The other thing you can do is have the fire department check the hydrants around your house to make sure they work. As of Wednesday, there are 24 active wildfires in the state of Florida, covering more than 300 acres. 
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