Firefighters were busy over the weekend battling blazes from the Georgia border to south Florida. The dry, windy conditions this spring have state officials praying for rain.
Thousands of acres were burned across Florida over the weekend, forcing hundreds of people to flee their homes in south Florida. Florida's Chief of Forest Protection, Ira Jolly, says it's unusual to have wildfires burning throughout the state.
There were at least a half-dozen large wildfires burning at once including the one that shut down Interstate 95 in St. John's County. A map shows the entire state. The red flame icons are spread from one end of Florida to the other and from the western edge of the panhandle all the way to the Atlantic coast.
State officials say this is about average for springtime in Florida, but it's definitely a more active season than in recent years. The governor is concerned continued dry weather could make things worse.
“About five years ago that's exactly what happened, so I don't normally pray for rain when it's perfect weather as we've had our last three weeks, but we ought to start getting some rain here and in central and south Florida as well,” says Gov. Jeb Bush.
Most wildfires are preventable and emergency management officials want you to do your part.
“Be very cognizant of the weather conditions, when it's windy and humidities are low, that even something as small as a trash fire can literally get out of hand and cost somebody their homes,” says Craig Fugate, Florida Emergency Management Director.
It could be a hectic next few weeks. The wet weather doesn't typically begin in Florida until mid-May. The Division of Forestry has already battled about a dozen wildfires of more than 300 acres so far this year.
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