Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and the Florida Forest Service are urging the public to be careful with fire and all potential heat sources due to increased wildfire danger levels in South Florida and throughout the state. Last week, 56 wildfires burned 3,780 acres, including the 600-acre Micco Shrub Fire that shut down I-95 for several hours due to smoke and low visibility.
“Our wildland firefighters will likely battle a steady increase of wildfires in the coming weeks as the dry and windy conditions continue,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “Citizens can do their part by keeping preventable human-caused wildfires at bay and preparing their families and homes for wildfire.”
Since January, approximately 1,325 wildfires have burned 74,427 acres in Florida. Motorists in wildfire-affected areas should exercise extreme caution. To access real-time prescribed burn and wildfire conditions, Floridians can download the “FLBurnTools” app in Apple’s App Store or on Google Play.
“When citizens are careful with fire, they are doing more than just protecting themselves and their property,” said Jim Karels, State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service. “They are helping to protect the lives of Florida’s wildland firefighters and first responders.”
The Florida Forest Service urges residents to be cautious and to remember the following:
- Develop and implement a family wildfire action plan;
- Call 911 or a local Florida Forest Service field unit office immediately in the event of a wildfire;
- Obey Florida’s outdoor burning laws;
- Never burn on windy days;
- Always keep a water source and suppression tools on hand when burning yard debris;
- Never leave an outdoor fire or hot grill unattended; and
- Avoid parking vehicles on dry grass.
The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. Learn more at FloridaForestService.com.