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Date of Issue: May 27, 2009

WMFR deputy chief assisting with wildfires

Over Mother’s Day weekend, 63 wildfires broke out in Florida burning more than 2,500 acres.

The day after Mother’s Day, West Manatee Fire Rescue District Deputy Chief Brett Pollock was called on to assist with battling the fires.

Pollock, as of May 14, was working as a safety officer at the Orlando/Volusia Complex, from where firefighters were battling 27 wildfires.

Exceedingly dry conditions in the state were partly responsible for the increased wildfire activity and those dry conditions are expected to intensify in the coming days and weeks, according to Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson.

Below average rainfall in the peninsular part of the state, coupled with freezes earlier this year left Florida’s vegetation ripe for wildfires. Low relative humidity and gusty winds have provided ideal conditions for wildfires to start easily, intensify quickly and move rapidly.

Since Jan. 1, Florida has had more than 2,000 wildfires that have burned almost 56,000 acres.

Pollock said his first assignment after being called out to central Florida was to assist with the Dragonfly Fire in the Lake Harney area east of Orlando.

The fire, as of May 14, was holding at close to 4,500 acres burned and was 55 percent contained.