Flaming Dead Squirrels Blamed for Starting Florida Brush Fires
Earlier this week, firefighters had to deal with four separate brush fires in four straight days in the Lehigh Acres area of Lee County. Don't worry though, a serial arsonist is not on the lose in Southwest Florida. Authorities believe they know who's to blame for starting the flames: squirrels. Yes, squirrels. Flaming dead squirrels.
You see nature's cutest nut hoarders have a habit of scurrying across power lines. They're safe if the stay on just one line, but if the squirrels reach out onto another line while still touching the other they create a connection which surges electricity through their body. The resulting shock is not only strong enough to kill the squirrels, but apparently can also lead to fires in dry conditions. You can see a photo of one of the fried critters here if you're into that sort of thing.
"This has happened before but I've never heard of it causing fires," Clark Ryals of the Florida Forest Service tells ABC affiliate WZVN.
In fact, a squirrel was also to blame for a fire earlier this week in nearby Buckingham area of Lee County. The Kamikaze squirrel started a flame that actually burnt down the house of a local pastor.
Officials say they can't do anything to stop the threat aside from waiting for rain.
"I think you are going to see more and more chances of causing fires in the near future until we start getting steady rainfall," said Ryals.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.