A lightning strike is the reported cause of a small brush fire that broke out late Thursday afternoon.
Firefighters from three stations manning two brush trucks and a squad under the Command of Battalion Chief John Hauff responded to Chiquita Blvd and Pine Island Road after receiving a report of smoke in the area just after 7 pm. Crews arrived to find approximatelyhalf an acre of Australian pine and brush burning in an area west of the cemetery that was extremely difficult to reach.
"Our crews had a really hard time trying to reach this fire," said Hauff in a prepared statement.
Firefighters used hand tools to extinguish pockets of fire until the Florida Forest Service arrived with a tractor plow to create fire breaks and access points to the fire. Once the fire was brought under control, personnel worked to secure the perimeter to prevent any flare-ups from spreading.
"This fire was tough because we have had a lot of rain so the ground was wet but the brush above the ground was dry and allowed the fire to spread," said Hauff said. "Getting into the area was also difficult but our guys did a good job in keeping everything in check."
Cape Coral Fire Department maintains specialized brush firefighting equipment to handle woods and grass fires. These smaller vehicles allow firefighters to get into wooded areas that the larger fire engines would not be able to access.
Afternoon storms and the lightning associated with them can be a major concern. Residents are encouraged to be vigilant and report any signs of fire such as columns of smoke in a specific area or any flames that are seen. Small campfires and cooking fires are permitted with authorization, but open trash fires, bon fires and the like are not allowed. Any column of smoke should be reported so firefighters can verify there is no fire burning unchecked that could pose a threat to life and property.
Permits for any open fire in the city can be obtained by calling the CCFD Life Safety Division at 239-242-3264. Burning authorizations in the unincorporated areas of Lee and surrounding counties can be obtained through the Florida Forest Service at 239-690-3500.
Source: Cape Coral Fire Department