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Wildfires rage as drought condistions worsen

By James Call

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-973802.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – State officials say drought conditions are the same as they were in 1998 when wildfires devastated Florida. James Call reports the current drought covers 93 percent of the state.

The number of fires keeps growing and as of Thursday morning more than 300 thousand acres of Florida were burning. And officials say the impending rainy season could make things worse before it helps due to lightning. Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency to help local communities coordinate efforts to fight the wildfires.

"The number of active fires is now 422. With the drought index reaching we must protect public safety and property."

Two thousand firefighters are battling the blazes. Much of their efforts are in the Northeast. The bigger blazes are in Flager and Volusia counties and along the border of Alachua and Bradford counties.