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Commissioner Putnam Brings Attention to Increased Wildfire Danger
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Tallahassee, FL – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and the Florida Forest Service are urging Floridians to be cautious as wildfire activity increases across the state. The central and southern parts of Florida are experiencing high fire danger levels due to a lack of rainfall, low humidity and strong winds. Even in areas like the Florida Panhandle, where abundant rainfall recently lowered fire danger levels, wildfires continue to occur.
“Last weekend, despite the tireless efforts of our Florida Forest Service firefighters, several counties in central Florida were hit hard by two large wildfires that threatened and destroyed homes. Although a number of structures were lost, hundreds of homes were saved from the wildfires by our skilled firefighters,” said Commissioner Putnam. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families who lost their homes, although we are immensely grateful that no one was injured.”
Depending on rainfall activity, the coming weeks and months could show continued high fire danger levels and an increased possibility that wildfires would endanger more homes and structures. The Florida Forest Service warns Floridians to take steps now to ensure their own safety.
“Despite recent rainfall, vegetation can dry out in a matter of weeks,” said Jim Karels, state forester for the Florida Forest Service. “It is imperative for residents to take action now to protect their homes from wildfire.”
Homeowners can complete a few simple tasks that will help defend their home against wildfires:
· Create 30 feet of defensible space around the home.
· Keep flammables, including mulch, pine needles and dead vegetation, away from the home, fence and deck.
· Opt for low-growing, fire-resistant plants and materials.
· Store fire wood at least 30 feet from the home.
· Make wildfire preparedness a family project.
For statewide forestry updates and wildfire information, visit www.floridaforestservice.com or follow FFS on Facebook or Twitter. For more information about the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.