HILLIARD, Fla.-- They spark in a flash. They spread before there's much time to react.
"The fire's in the right fuel, the right spot, we could have a large fire," Forester Mike Work said.
The Florida Forest Service is gearing up for another busy season. Action News crews climbed awatch tower in Nassau County to get a look at the land below-- and talk about the latest concern known as: "super fires."
"We look for smoke. when smoke pops up, generally, we'll watch them for a minute or two or three," Work continued.
Work says climate change is contributing to the growing number of super fires-- or fires that expand rapidly in size.
The drier it is, the bigger they get, and the more dangerous they become.
"The heating of the day dries the fuels out, allows the fires to spread quicker and get a little larger prior to us getting there," Work said.
The Honey Prairie fire in 2011 is one of the most recent examples. More than 309,000 acres burned in the Okefenokee area. In 1998, 45,000 Floridians were forced out of their homes and fire organizations responded from 44 states.
In July of that year, Florida hosted the largest aerial suppression operation ever conducted in the United States.
"There were a lot of fires and a lot of large fires."
Work says they can't control Mother Nature, but they can and are preparing for the next major fire.
"You have to get the resources in place, and start coming up with a plan of attack. It's one day at a time," he explained.
Officials tell us you can help protect your home by clearing away debris. The more leaves and clutter, the easier it is to catch fire.