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 throughout the state. Dry conditions and gusty winds have led to erratic and dangerous wildfire activity recently, threatening homes and endangering the public. Dangerous wildfire conditions are expected to continue to increase over the next few months.
“Florida’s wildland firefighters are prepared to battle increasingly hazardous wildfires due to abnormally dry and windy conditions,” 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.”
On Sunday, the Florida Forest Service responded to 26 new wildfires that impacted several Florida communities and burned more than 2,500 acres. Two significant fires in Lee County yesterday impacted residents in more than 120 homes. Of the homes impacted, the Florida Forest Service and its partners saved 115 homes. One home was destroyed and six were damaged but were not destroyed. In Miami, the Trail Fire has so far burned more than 740 acres. Crews are working diligently to contain the fire and minimize smoke impacts to the surrounding community. Motorists in wildfire-affected areas should also exercise caution. To see the locations of all active wildfires in Florida, the public may download the “FLBurnTools” app in Apple’s App Store or on Google Play.
The Florida Forest Service is urging residents to be cautious with fire and heat sources 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.
“When citizens are careful with fire, they are doing more than just protecting themselves and their property,” said Jim Karels, Florida State Forester. “They are helping to protect the lives of Florida’s wildland firefighters and first responders.”
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.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com