Press Release: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Tallahassee, FL – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and the Florida Forest Service are recognizing National Arson Awareness Week this week by bringing attention to threat of arson and urging Floridians to always report suspicious wildfire behavior.
“Although recent rainfall is helping, the threat of wildfire is always present in Florida during the dry season,” said Commissioner Putnam. “Arson is responsible for more than 20 percent of our wildfires this year, but with your help, we can stop arsonists and protect Florida’s citizens and valuable resources.”
Arson on wooded lands costs Florida taxpayers millions of dollars each year. Since January 1, more than 1,200 wildfires have burned 23,739 acres in Florida. More than 5,000 acres have burned due to arson.
“This serious crime not only threatens homes, property and our natural resources, but also places the lives of Floridians at risk,” said James R. Karels, State Forester. “The state will not tolerate anyone who purposefully endangers our citizens.”
To report suspicious wildfire activity, contact the state’s Arson Alert Hotline at 1-800-342-5869. Callers can remain anonymous and information about wildland arson could result in a reward up to $5,000.
The Florida Forest Service manages more than 1 million acres of public forest land while protecting 26 million acres of homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire. For statewide wildfire updates, visit www.floridaforestservice.com. For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.