What to Do in the Event of a Wildfire
A wildfire is any uncontainable fire in the woods or forest. The most at-risk locations are areas where development has occurred or is occurring at the edge of previously undeveloped vegetated areas. Wildfires are a part of Brevard County’s ecosystem,
which is why prescribed burns are managed to reduce wildfire risk. You can learn more about Current Conditions across the state via this link,
or access the Florida Forest Service's Interactive Fire Map.
- Review your five steps on your Pathways to Preparedness.
- Clean your roof and gutters of any vegetative debris.
- Maintain an area of approximately 30’ away from your home that is free of anything that will burn (like wood piles, dried leaves, newspapers, and other brush.)
- If you see a wildfire, call 9-1-1.
- If ordered to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Follow your evacuation and communications plans.
- Listen to local officials for open shelters or comfort centers.
- Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
- Use caution when entering burned areas, as there may still be hot spots.
- When cleaning your home, wear a dust mask and wet debris down to minimize breathing dust particles.
- Photograph damage for insurance purposes.
Terms to Know
- Fire Weather Watch
- Be prepared. Weather conditions could be favorable for extreme fire behavior during the next 12-72 hours.
- Red Flag Warning (Fire Weather Warning)
- Be on alert. Extreme fire behavior may occur within 24 hours.
- Only you can prevent a forest fire.
- Brevard County is susceptible to wildfires throughout the year, particularly during the months with minimal rainfall amounts (December through May).
- Wildfires can be started by a variety of causes, like lightning strikes, trash burning, cigarettes tossed onto the ground, etc.
- Plantings round your home should be limited to carefully-spaced low flammability species, and consider hardscaping using rocks, gravel, or stone instead of mulch.
Brevard County is susceptible to wildfires throughout the year, particularly during the months with minimal rainfall amounts (December through April). The major causes of brush and forest fires are due to lightning, human negligence, or cases of criminal
mischief, and occurs during the months with higher thunderstorm activities. In recent years, homes and businesses have been threatened by encroaching wildfires. Late winter and spring also are prime periods for wildfires, fueled by strong winds and
a lack of rainfall during that same time frame. Brevard County has a considerable amount of undeveloped area with prime fuel source for fires.
Historic wildfire events for Brevard County include:
- In spring 2011, the Iron Horse Fire burned nearly 17,500 acres across Brevard and Volusia counties and destroyed one mobile home and two hunting camps. Two firefighters were injured putting out the hot spots and heavy smoke forced the closure of Interstate
95 between State Road 442 and SR-46 for a period of time.
- The Mother’s Day fires of 2008 accounted for $34 million in damage in Palm Bay alone where 33 homes were destroyed and 236 damaged. In Malabar, two homes, each valued at $250,000 were destroyed. In total, over 10,000 acres were destroyed during
the event; however; it is likely that more damage was avoided due to prescribed burning in the Jordan Scrub Sanctuary and the Micco Scrub Sanctuary three months prior to the fires.
- During the 1990s, the County was impacted by the disastrous wildfires brought on by drought that swept through the region. Most notable was the summer of 1998 during which over 500,000 acres burned statewide. A total of 150,000 acres burned in Brevard
County and 32 homes and 5 businesses were lost.
Information on Dealing with These Hazards