Lakes drying up in Volusia, Flagler, raising fire risk

By Saul Saenz , Volusia County Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, April 14, 2017, 4:57 PM EDT

Division of Forestry firefighters are working to put out at least 17 brush fires in the Volusia/Flagler area.

  • Cassadaga has only a couple of fire hydrants
  • Without water in ponds and lakes, it raises the fire risk

Because conditions are bone dry, one main resource to battle fires is drying up. A case in point is the town of Cassadaga.

Lilian Carrol and her husband are watching their line of defense against a brush fire dry up.

“When I think about the fire threat, the only thing that we can do is be proactive, make sure that we have long enough hoses to go around every building that we can have,” said Lillian Carroll, who lives into small spiritual community.

Carroll’s biggest fear is that a brush fire could break out near Cassadaga because the town has only a couple of fire hydrants.

Firefighters need water to battle a fire, so when water sources are unavailable they turn to plucking water out of ponds and lakes to drop over flames.

Getting water out of this lake is not an option.

“We need something close by that we can work out of. Or we just need rain,” said Florida Fire Safety supervisor Michael Roberts.

And its not just Cassadaga.

Lack of rain is drying up lakes and ponds throughout Volusia and Flagler counties.

If firefighters can not get water from lakes, choppers go to rivers to find water.

“But the turn around time for the helicopters will be longer," Roberts said. "Which puts our tractors at a greater risk, and makes it harder to stop the fire.”

Transporting water by trucking it in close to a fire is also more expensive.

But that is what they would have to do in Cassadaga if a brush fire breaks out near the town.

“This is just probably one of the worst situations you can be in,” said Carroll.

Carroll adds, the only option for this spiritual community if a fire breaks out is to pray for rain.