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As Dry Conditions Continue, Fla. Officials Want Public Aware Of Increased Wildfire Dangers

MGN Online

With increasingly dry conditions, the Florida Forest Service wants the public to aware of wildfire danger.

In the last three weeks, dry conditions have sparked wildfires across the state—threatening at least 20 homes. And, with no rain forecast until late next week, Florida Forest Officials expect even more wildfires.

“And, that extends into the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend area into the Suwannee River to the west and as you go farther west from the Suwannee River, it gets progressively drier,” said John Fish, the Fire Chief at the Florida Forest Service.

Fish says 80 percent of Florida wildfires are human caused. So, he cautions everyone to be safe when using fire outdoors—like camp fires and grills.

“And, it doesn’t take long when you turn your back for a moment on an outdoor fire—whether that be a recreational fire, a debris burning…whether you’re cleaning up your yard, yard waste—for it to get away and get out of your control,” he added.

Fish says residents should also prepare their home in advance of a wildfire.

“And, if folks can clean their gutters out, make sure that they’re using fire wise landscaping materials, things that don’t burn readily, and keeping limbs trimmed back from their house and creating a fire defensible space around their property,” he continued.

Fish says there are close to 30 active Florida wildfires, as of Tuesday afternoon.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.