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History   |   Fire Protection in Undeveloped Areas   |   Fuels
The Existing Home   |   Fire Safety Checkist   |   As A Last Resort


Fuels

To forest fire agencies, fuel means flammable vegetation, grass, brush, land clearing debris and other materials. Exposure to forest and brush fuels is a primary hazard. Under severe weather conditions these fuels burn with intense heat and spread rapidly.

Clearing fuels around buildings will reduce structural exposure to flames and radiant heat. It will also give fire fighters a reasonable chance of saving structures.

In many parts of Florida, large inland areas are covered with flammable brush and other vegetation. A fire starting in these areas is extremely difficult to control and can spread rapidly. As you evaluate the development you have chosen, consider the following important items:

  1. Some vegetation and dead material may be on the ground. The more there is, the more difficult it will be to control a fire. Dense brush is particularly bad.
  2. All dead vegetation should be removed by the developer. This fuel is dangerous as fires start easily in it and are difficult to control. Sparks from these fires can create small fires in the surrounding vegetation and threaten nearby homes.
  3. A fuel break is recommended around developments in dense brush. Vegetation that might carry fire from the wildland to the development should be removed. This need not be a bulldozed fire trail. It can be a strip where single trees or shrubs and non-flammable ground vegetation have been left. The developer should use the road system to provide internal fuel breaks so that any fire starting in the development can be confined to a small area.
  4. Solid waste disposal should be available in the development. Generally, there will be a sanitary landfill within a reasonable distance, or a regular garbage collection service. Community dumps are extreme fire hazards and are illegal in most areas. In developed areas lacking a sanitary landfill or garbage pick up systems, illicit dumps often appear. These are guaranteed locations for future fires.