Arsonist aggravates already at risk area of North Port - WFLA News Channel 8

Arsonist aggravates already at risk area of North Port

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NORTH PORT, FL (WFLA) -

The wildfire threat is high in the bay area.  Fire crews have been pulling long hours over the past few days, battling a number of wildfires.  On Sunday night, firefighters from several counties responded to a brush fire in North Port.

Investigators don't know the cause at this time, but they do know it was the work of an arsonist.  Thankfully crews were able to get it under control before it impacted homes.  On Monday morning, there wasn't much left of a 20 acre plot of land in North Port.

Nearly everything was scorched, and though the flames had been doused, there's a reason why fire crews keep an eye out.

A blaze can spark without warning.  North Port Fire Marshal Michael Frantz said, "Just a little bit of breeze like what we have today can carry those embers up to a half, three-quarters of a mile."

Frantz say this was the work of an arsonist. And it's a serious matter.  This region of Florida has some of the highest risk areas for brushfires.

This blaze started Sunday night, on Friday there was a 300 acre fire in Weeki Watchee and another blaze in Lithia.

Frantz said, "So many people don't think about dry conditions. They go on about their day, they don't think the earth is so dry and we've got serious drought conditions."

Frantz recommends that you don't burn anything and be very careful putting out your cigarettes.  The thick brush and wind are volatile components that can quickly spark a disaster.

Fire officials say one-third of Floridians live in areas at risk for brushfires and being "fire wise" can potentially save many lives.

If caught, the arsonist could face criminal charges, and there is a reward for information on their arrest.  So if you know any information, call North Port Fire Rescue.  But it certainly shows how dangerous the conditions are out here.  A fire can easily be sparked by a cigarette or even cars and ATVs.

The heat from the exhaust or the catalytic converter can easily start a blaze.  During this time of year, if you're out in the brush and doing anything involving heat, be very careful.

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