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On Monday, the flames of a wildfire came alarmingly close to homes in St. Lucie County.

As homeowner Adrian Martinez surveyed the charred brush left behind by a fire in his backyard, he was grateful for his luck.

“Thankfully there was no structural damage, just a lot of burnt brush as you can see,” Martinez said. “We were lucky that our home and security were not damaged.”

The St. Lucie County Fire District said it received multiple emergency calls about a brush fire near Northwest Dowell Court shortly after 1 p.m. Monday.

Homeowner Adrian Martinez recounts the tense moments as a bushfire approached his home…
Homeowner Adrian Martinez recounts the tense moments as a bushfire approached his home on Monday.

“It was a piece of land between residential properties with heavy oil,” said St. Lucie County Fire Chief Captain Andres Elizondo. “The firefighters did a great job positioning themselves between the buildings and protecting them while they put out the fire.”

Martinez and the neighboring house were ordered to evacuate due to their proximity to the fire.

“My wife and kids were outside with my pets,” Martinez said. “When we got the call about the fire, I didn’t expect it to be so close to my patio back there – about three feet.”

Fire investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire. Although none of the buildings were damaged, pine needles on the roof of one of the homes caught fire. For this reason, St. Lucie County Fire District officials are asking the public to do their part to prevent the fire from spreading.

Captain Andres Elizondo, St. Lucie County Fire Chief, explains what residents can do to reduce …
Captain Andres Elizondo, St. Lucie County Fire Chief, explains what residents can do to reduce the risk of a wildfire spreading to their property.

“Create a defensible area around their homes, remove dead and dried leaves, clean their gutters and keep their roofs clean,” Elizondo said.

The incident occurred amid severe drought conditions and a Burn ban in St. Lucie County. These problems will not simply go away because a little rain is forecast.

“We need sustained rain over a longer period of time to saturate the soil and fuel in these dry areas right now,” Elizondo added.

Homeowners like Martinez have learned from this lesson.

“In these dry conditions, I definitely need to reduce the bush,” he said.

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