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Wildfire Risk Raised By Heat, Lack Of Rain

The gate of Brooker Creek Preserve is closed with two cones in front of it and a sign that states center closed until further notice.
Mark Schreiner
WUSF Public Media
Brooker Creek Preserve is closed until further notice because of a wildfire.

Residents in the Tampa Bay area are dealing with lingering smoke after a brush fire at Brooker Creek Preserve this week.

East Lake Fire Rescue, Oldsmar Fire and the Department of Forestry helped fight the fire at the preserve in north Pinellas County. Florida Forest Service officials said the fire burned 15 acres.

“It was heavily vegetated with large trees,” said Wildfire Mitigation Specialist Todd Chlanda. “They were able to put a containment line in around 70 percent of it (Monday) and due to the amount of vegetation and size of trees, we had to call in some heavy equipment.”

Brooker Creek Preserve remains closed until further notice.

With the weather being so hot and the lack of rain recently, Chlanda said the danger of wildfires remains high.

“Anytime you start seeing grasses and front yards turning brown and crunching as you walk on it, it’s really starting to get dry. For every day without moisture and precipitation, it just increases the fire danger that much more.”

According to the Florida Forest Service, 1,125 wildfires have occurred already this year, burning 13,121 acres. The locations of current wildfires can be seen here. 

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