It's inevitable: Florida land will catch fire - FOX 13 News

It's inevitable: Florida land will catch fire

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LAKELAND (FOX 13) -

You ever wonder why big landowners in Tampa Bay burn their property? Just last week, we saw the risk they take. In Weeki Wachee, a controlled burn got out of control and charred 500 acres.

But experts say that's the chance we have to take. Undeveloped Florida land has to be burned every three years or so to keep the ecosystem balanced.

Mother Nature used to be solely responsible for that. But now, man is stepping in for good reason. With a growing population and spreading development, unexpected wildfires can be deadly.

"When a wildfire happens, it burns out of control. It burns with too much intensity and it is dangerous," Vic Memmoli of the Florida Forest Service told FOX 13 on Tuesday.

So with controlled, or prescribed burns, landowners can shift the odds in their favor, and in ours. They choose the day, dig firelines and can have extra manpower on site just in case it is needed.

So here is the bottom-line: Florida is going to burn; how safely depends upon who is in charge.

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