Fire officials say dry, hot weather could fuel wildfires

As we head into the weekend, fire officials have a warning for the Tampa Bay area -- the heat and dry weather create perfect conditions for wildfires.

Tampa and North Port firefighters have already responded to several fires in the last few days.

The one in North Port, off Wyola Avenue, only took seconds to spread. It even jumped the street and caused a lot to go up in flames. Judy Bourne and her husband live next to the empty lot.

“When I walked out there was a wall of fire. It was so hot,” Judy said. “It spread so fast, it jumped the street. Luckily the fire trucks got here. It could have been really bad.”

Charred brush and burned grass show where the fire came just inches away from their home.

“Very lucky. It could have been so much worse. Everything is just so dry,” she said.

This week North Port Fire has already battled 10 small wildfires. With little rain and the humidity, they know it could get worse.

“We are about 50-75% below, depending on where you go in the state for our average rainfall should be for year-to-date. Going into our next two months for dry season it’s going to be difficult,” said North Port Fire Chief Scott Titus. “When you have the wind conditions the low humidity. It makes those conditions much worse and makes the fire grow.”

Fire officials say to move dry or dead brush away from structures and be sure to clean debris from gutters.