Every year, Florida experiences wildfires. On average, Florida has the second highest number of wildfires in the nation. In Pinellas County, the risk of wildfires typically occurs when temperatures are warm and weather conditions are dry.
Wildfires often begin unnoticed. They spread quickly, igniting brush, trees, and homes. Reduce your risk by preparing now — before wildfire strikes.
Around Your Home:
Fire Pit and Grill Fire Safety
Most homes that sustain damage or are destroyed by wildfires are due to ignitions in the roof and the area surrounding the structure, the two most vulnerable parts of the home. Home ignitions usually occur over relatively short distances tens of yards, not hundreds of feet. Follow these safety tips to reduce the risk of a wildfire affecting your home:
- Clear the most flammable vegetation within 30 feet of the structure
- Remove pine needles and dry leaves from within 5 feet of your home
- Firewood must be stored at least 50 feet away from the house and other structures
- Trim all tree branches that hang over the house or are lower than 15 feet from the ground
- Regularly mow weedy areas and keep lawn properly watered
- Promptly and properly dispose of yard waste. Do not move it to a nearby vacant lot.
- Use fire resistant construction materials when possible and fire resistant barriers such as rock beds and stone mulch.
- Follow local regulations for burning of yard and waste materials.
- Outdoor fire safety - En Español version
Other actions you can take:
- Dispose of cigarette butts properly
- Pick up light-refracting metal items such as soda cans that can spark a fire
- Do not park vehicles over high grass that could come into contact with hot engines
- Install smoke alarms and test them twice a year. Change batteries every six months.
- Have at least one dry chemical fire extinguisher on hand.
Residents and visitors should register for Alert Pinellas, the county’s official public notification system for emergency and urgent alerts. To receive messages by email, phone, and text, go to Alert Pinellas.
To stay safe, follow simple tips while using the various picnic shelters, camp grounds, playgrounds, boat ramps and trails throughout the county:
- Restrict vehicles to paved roadways and parking lots. Hot engines and exhaust pipes could start fire in tall grass.
- Fully extinguish smoking products (cigarettes and cigars) and only discard in approved fire safe containers.
- Only use park-supplied grills at county picnic shelters. Only use charcoal briquettes or propane in personal grills at campsites. Do not place hot coals on the ground or in trash cans and fully extinguish coals before leaving.
- Do not start open fires. Restrict fires to campfire rings or other approved structures. Campfire safety Checklist
- Do not burn trash wood or combustible materials.
- No fireworks, sparklers and other incendiary devices are allowed in parks or preserves.
- Pay attention to weather conditions as high winds could spread embers and ignite dry vegetation.
- Report suspicious activity immediately.
Call the Parks and Conservation Resources department at (727) 582-2100 with questions about any of these fire safety tips.