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Dry spell brings fires

By A Treasure Coast essay by Paul Janensch


Fort Pierce, FL – It sure has been dry on the Treasure Coast. That's good for going to the beach and playing golf. But it's also bad because brush fires are a result. Last week, a dozen fires consumed some 900 acres in rural Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee counties. Smoke reduced visibility along major roads. State helicopters dropped 60-thousand gallons of water on a blaze that burned across the High Horse farm in northwestern Martin County. From October 2010 through February 2011 was Florida's driest season in 80 years. It's especially dry on the Treasure Coast. Blame it on La Nina, which is Spanish for "the girl." La Nina is a weather system associated with cold ocean temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean. It produces warm, dry conditions in the American Southeast. Even though it's dry, we still have thunderstorms, and they bring lightning. In fact, Central Florida, including the Treasure Coast, is the lightning capital of the U.S. Lightning can spark brush fires. So can human carelessness. Water managers and fire officials are urging us to avoid outdoor burning - except when permitted on agricultural land. So have fun at the beach, enjoy a round of golf, but let's wait until the lots of rain comes again before building any camp fires. For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.

Last week, while wishing Port St. Lucie happy birthday, I incorrectly said that Digital Domain Park and a multi-university campus were in Tradition. They are in St. Lucie West. I apologize.

Treasure Coast essayist Paul Janensch was a newspaper editor and taught journalism at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut