Florida Forest Service officials say there’s slightly below average risk of forest fire for the rest of the year. Director Jim Karels told the Florida Cabinet Tuesday this year’s Pacific Ocean El Niño condition is expected to cause a wet summer followed by a low-risk winter.
But Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says a positive outlook doesn’t always pan out.
“The same would have been true at a wildfire update in late 1997, early 1998, just 90 days before the conflagration," he says.
Putnam and Karels urge Floridians to take advantage of a new online fire tracking tool to assess their property’s fire risk over time.
“And even I can do it, so it’s pretty simple. You can go right to your house and you can look at the risk there. If you’re out in the country, it’ll show the risk," Karels says, "and it gives you some thoughts on what to do.”
That fire risk assessment is online at SouthernWildfireRisk.com.