As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried and the Florida Forest Service are encouraging Floridians to use caution with fire while celebrating. Since January, 1,092 fires have burned approximately 58,382 acres throughout Florida.
“The potential for wildfire is always heightened when fire and sparks exist outdoors,” said Commissioner Nikki Fried. “As we enjoy celebrating our freedom in this great nation on Independence Day with fireworks, barbecues and campfires, we need all Floridians to use fire responsibly and understand their role in keeping our families and friends safe.”
Residents and visitors should always check local laws before using fireworks. Local fire and police departments as well as the State Fire Marshal’s Office can also provide guidance. If choosing to celebrate with fireworks, grills or campfires, follow these safety tips:
- Light fireworks in a cleared area free of vegetation or dry debris;
- Clear debris from around campfires, grills and all fire sources;
- Remove debris from any location where fireworks could land;
- Always have a water source available;
- Aim fireworks away from people, homes and wooded areas;
- Never use homemade fireworks;
- Discard used fireworks in a bucket of water;
- Store unused fireworks, matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children;
- Never leave a fire unattended and ensure it is complete out before leaving it;
- Report any fire immediately to 9-1-1.
“Despite recent rainfall, high temperatures and dry conditions are expected across parts of the state,” said Jim Karels, State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service. “Changes in weather patterns and Florida’s unique, fire-prone vegetation have the potential to ignite a fire at any time. These factors require residents to be vigilant as they use fire.”
Commissioner Fried and State Forester Karels also shared these tips in a Twitter video. To access current wildfire conditions in Florida, including active wildfires and additional fire safety information, visit FloridaForestService.com.
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.