Saturday, June 22

Brush fire comes dangerously close to St. Lucie County homes amid burn ban, drought conditions

Flames from a brush fire came alarmingly close to homes in St. Lucie County on Monday.

As homeowner Adrian Martinez assessed the charred brush left behind by a fire in his backyard, he counted his blessings.

“Luckily there wasn’t any structural damage, just a lot of burnt brush as you can see,” Martinez said. “You know we were blessed not to have any kind of damage to our home or obviously our safety.”

The St. Lucie County Fire District said several calls came in just after 1 p.m. Monday about a brush fire near Northwest Dowell Court.

“It was an area of land in between residential lots with heavy fuel,” St. Lucie County Fire Marshal Capt. Andres Elizondo said. “Crews did a great job of positioning themselves between the structures and protecting them while extinguishing the fire.”

Martinez and the neighboring home were told to evacuate because of the proximity to the fire.

“My wife and kids were out the door with my pets,” Martinez said. “When we got the call about the fire, I wasn’t expecting it to be so close to my patio back there about 3 feet.”

Fire investigators are still working to determine a cause. While neither property was damaged, pine needles on the roof of one of the homes did catch fire. That’s why St. Lucie County Fire District officials urge people to do their part and stop the fire from spreading.

“Create defensible space around their homes, clean out any dead foliage, dried-up foliage anywhere, clean their gutters, keep their roofs clean,” Elizondo said.

The incident comes amid severe drought conditions and a burn ban in St. Lucie County. These problems won’t be going away with only a little rain in the forecast.

“Continuous rain over an extended period of time is really what we’re looking for to help saturate the ground and the fuel in these dry areas right now,” Elizondo added.

It’s a lesson learned for homeowners like Martinez.

“[I] definitely have to cut down on brush with these dry conditions,” he said.

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