Agriculture officials are warning Floridians to use caution due to significantly heightened wildfire risk. Dangerous conditions are present statewide.
Despite recent rains, the Florida Forest Service warns drought conditions are expected to continue across the state. And dryer ground means an increased chance for wildfires.
While moderate to high risk warnings are in effect across the state, 10 counties have an extreme risk for wildfires. These counties are Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Lee, Martin, Indian River, Brevard, Highlands, Polk and Orange.
“It’s imperative that Floridians are cautious with fire to help protect Florida’s residents, natural resources and wildland firefighters,” says Florida State Forester Jim Karels.
There are 41 active wildfires in Florida, and many have been caused by escaped yard trash burns.
Officials are asking people to know the outdoor burning laws, and to take the following precautions:
- Don't burn on windy days
- Keep a shovel and water nearby to contain the fire
- Clear leaves and other debris from gutters to prevent embers from igniting your house
- Never leave an outdoor grill or fire unattended
- Eliminate any flammable vegetation in contact with the structure
- Thin out trees and shrubs so there is 10 to 15 feet between the tree crowns
- Prune tree limbs to a height of 6 to 10 feet
- Replace highly flammable landscape material with plant materials that have a higher water content
- Replace flammable mulch adjacent to the structure with gravel or rock
- Eliminate "ladder fuels" near the structure that might carry a surface fire to the roof or eaves
- Maintain a lean, clean and green landscape within 30 feet of a structure
To view an interactive map of current active wildfires, drought and fire danger forecast information and a list of current county burn bans visit the Florida Forest Service's website.