Florida Forest Service Warns of Lightning Strikes, Calls for Fire Safety

By: Florida Forest Service Release Email
By: Florida Forest Service Release Email

Tallahassee, Florida- July 9, 2012

In the coming weeks we should start to see a more consistant rain pattern forming in our area. Thunderstorms may appear daily in the early and late afternoon. With this pattern more lightning strikes are common. If you witness a lightning strike please report it by calling 911. When caught early fires caused by lightning can be managed and suppressed. Otherwise they may blow out and cause larger wildfires that are harder to manage and contain.

Thunderstorms can produce downed trees and increase the collection of yard debris (limbs, sticks, twigs, pine needle). Yard debris from storms when left to collect on the ground and rooftops becomes a tinderbox when times turn dry. Keeping your yard clean and your rooftops and gutters clear help reduce the wildfire risk to your home. Don’t invite wildfire to your door.Keep the areas near your home clear of storm blow-down and excessive yard debris.

If your cleanup involves burning the debris there are some requirements that must be followed under Florida law.

• Piles should be 8’ or less in diameter. Larger piles will require an authorization before lighting.
• Piles must be located at least 50’ from the road, 25’ from your house and any forest land, and 150’ from other homes or structures.
• Burning must not start before 9AM EST and must be extinguished one hour before sunset.
• Your smoke must not create a hazard or a nuisance.

For more information contact the the Florida Forest Service Tallahassee Forestry Center at (850) 488-1871 or the Florida Forest Service office in your area.

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