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Brush fire threatens home, burns 5 acres

By Staff | Apr 8, 2009

Cape Coral firefighters fought a wooded-area brush fire on Gator Circle early Tuesday afternoon as a fire warning from the National Weather Service highlighted the danger.
Approximately five acres, whipped by high winds, burned with one unit defending a residence as additional trucks and firefighters responded.
Brush units 3, 5 and 7 and one brush truck from the North Fort Myers Fire Department were called in to fight the blaze, officials said. High winds and dry ground were contributing factors to the fire’s size.
The cause remained undetermined early Tuesday evening, officials said.
The National Weather Service had issued a fire weather warning for Tuesday afternoon, urging Lee County residents to take precautions.
Wildfires often begin unnoticed and can spread quickly, igniting brush, trees and homes, officials said in a prepared statement.
The city of Cape Coral, by going door-to-door and by posting signs warning of the danger, already has urged residents to take care.
Tom Tomich, the fire department’s chief of operations, previously said 50 signs have been posted in areas susceptible to brush fires. Areas targeted for concern include the areas north of Kismet Parkway on both sides of Chiquita Boulevard and the 3800 block of Oasis Boulevard.
A recent grass fire near Northwest 14th Avenue and Kismet Parkway had threatened several homes, but Cape fire crews were able to contain the blaze.
Bonfires, fireworks, trash fires and the careless tossing of cigarette butts are common causes of brush fires, Tomich said in the earlier interview.
While fire danger is high, residents can reduce the risk, officials said.
Brush fire safety tips from the Cape Coral Fire Department, in reference to its brush fire slogan “Lean, clean and green,” include:
— Lean: Have only a small amount of flammable vegetation.
— Clean: Do not accumulate dead vegetation.
— Green: Keep plants healthy and green, and irrigate lawn areas.

Additionally, the fire department suggests the following:
— Dispose of smoking materials wisely.
— Do not throw cigarettes from vehicle windows.
— Do not use fireworks.
— Do not light campfires.
— Do not drive or park vehicles on dry grassy areas.
— Do not ride ATVs in dry grassy areas.

The American Red Cross of Lee County provides the following tips for wildfire safety:
— Contact the fire department, health department or Department of Forestry for wildfire mitigation information. Ensure fire trucks can reach your home and clearly mark driveways, displaying your name and address.
— Report hazardous conditions that could potentially cause wildfires.
— Teach children about fire safety, and keep matches out of their reach.
— Post fire emergency phone numbers.
— Plan several escape routes by car and by foot.
— Plan for wildfires with neighbors. List neighbors’ skills that may help in an emergency situation, and consider how to help neighbors with special needs such as elderly or disabled adults.
— Plan how to take care of children who could potentially be alone if their parents cannot get home.
The Red Cross remains prepared to provide support and services to first responders and those affected.
For information about the Red Cross, assistance it provides, donations, classes or volunteering, call 278-3401, or log on to: arclcc.org.