Tallahassee, FL - Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Florida Forest Service are highlighting the dangers of wildfires and encouraging Floridians to make wildfire preparedness a priority during National Fire Prevention Week, October 7 through 13.
"Florida's wildfire danger has temporarily decreased due to the summer rainy season, however we must remain vigilant" said Commissioner Putnam. "National Fire Prevention Week serves as a reminder for families to take the necessary steps to protect their homes and property against the devastating effects of wildfire."
In keeping with Fire Prevention Week's national theme of "Two Ways Out," the department's Florida Forest Service urges citizens to develop a family wildfire escape plan. Having a set escape plan is vital as poor visibility, smoke, and flames can cause panic and confusion during a fire. The escape plan should include two routes from the neighborhood in the event the main exit is blocked. Plans should also include a list of items to take if an evacuation becomes necessary.
"Wildfire prevention and home preparedness is everyone's responsibility," said Jim Karels, director of the Florida Forest Service. "Most homes are not destroyed from direct contact with a wildfire, but instead from fire traveling across fences, trees limbs, debris, and other 'ladder' fuels connected to the home."
The department's Florida Forest Service advises that one of the best ways to reduce a home's wildfire risk is to create 30 feet of defensible space around the home. In the first three feet from the home, the space needs to be free of tall, fire-prone plants and materials. Instead, opt for low growing, fire-resistant plants and use rocks or chunky bark for mulch. Position plants so that none are placed directly under windows or vents. Floridians can further protect their property by following these tips:
Keep mulch and pine needles away from the home, fence, and deck.
Keep roofs and gutters free of pine needles.
Keep flammable chemicals and materials away from the home.
Store fire wood at least 30 feet from the home.
Remove dead vegetation and debris from under decks and within 10 feet of the home.
Make wildfire preparedness a family project.
Since January 2,763 wildfires have burned 113,939 acres throughout Florida.
The Florida Forest Service manages one million acres of public forest land while protecting more than 26 million acres of homes, forestland, and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire. For statewide wildfire updates and additional wildfire information, visit
For more information about the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit