Dry conditions fueling wildfires statewide: Where's the rain?

What started as a small burn pit in Pasco County flared into a dangerous, costly situation, leaving behind melted metal and torched trees. 

Pasco Fire Rescue said a Hudson property owner thought he'd fully doused the fire Sunday. But by Monday morning, the unattended fire pit grew and spread fast. 

"The guys are out doing their truck checks and there's just a large column of smoke coming from the area," said Corey Dierdorff, Pasco Fire Rescue public information officer. "It turned out to be a pretty big fire. It left the burn pit and ran across about 10 feet of the yard."

From there, the flames burned through a car, a small pole barn storing lawn equipment, a tractor mower, and two 15-by-5-foot trailers.

"We're lucky that yesterday, with the wind, it didn't push the fire out of the burn pit," Dierdorff continued, "and then, this morning, with the dry conditions and a little bit of wind, take that and cause a lot of damage at the home."

You can hear grass crunching throughout Florida. Temperatures are up, humidity is down. It's dry, peak fire weather. And all it takes is one spark.

In the last few days, a 100-acre fire in Marion County forced evacuations of 25 homes. Another in Indian River County shut down I-95. Officials believe the 1,100 acre fire at St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park likely came from an unattended campfire.  

"Winds take from the original fire that's occurring and it spots over embers to an area that hasn't been burned yet which created additional smaller fires," said Miguel Nevarez with Florida Forest Service.

With 63 wildfires and nearly 5,000 acres actively burning statewide, according to Florida Forest Service, where's the rain? 

"Some areas haven't had rain in between four and five weeks," said FOX 13 chief meteorologist Paul Dellegatto. "That's a long time."  

Dellegatto said that if there's a drought issue, it's almost always May into June. For now, we wait for the light at the end of the tunnel.

"It looks like it could be raining this weekend, certainly the first couple of days of next week and once that rain machine gets going," Dellegatto said, "we can transition from drought to too much rain pretty quickly."

Until the clouds open up, fire officials urge everyone to be smart.

"Don't burn over the holiday," said Dierdorff. "Don't use fireworks. Don't use those lanterns that you put up. It is just a bad time right now and our entire Bay Area, not just Pasco County, is under very high fire conditions."