Florida went through some of the worst wildfires in history in the late 90s, and we could be in for a repeat. The entire state has only gotten about half its normal rainfall this year and State Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson says it doesn't look good.
"The wildfire potential is as great right now as the ’98 season was," Commissioner Bronson said. "We’re hoping to get some thunderstorm activity, soaking rains, that will amount to something."
Bronson, Gov. Charlie Crist, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and others met at the Capitol to discuss just how serious the situation is.
"What we’re experiencing is a drought," said Gov. Crist. "And we need to do all we can to conserve our resources."
Lake Okeechobee is at its lowest level in years, and even the feds are worried.
"You could lose those well fields for the better part of a decade."
Agriculture is already feeling the pinch. Retailers are canceling hundreds of thousands of dollars in ornamental plant orders because people can’t water their yards.
Even if you don’t have to worry about water restrictions, you may have to worry about paying for groceries. The price of corn alone went up 20 percent during Florida’s last drought. For now the plan is to encourage conservation and pray for more rain.
Florida received an average of only 5.88 inches of rain from January 1 through March 31, which is far short of the typical ten inches we normally receive.
The state’s Division of Forestry reports nearly 111,000 acres have burned in 1,610 wildfires so far this year.