Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Release: FDACS Urges Floridians To Be Careful With Outdoor Fire
Tallahassee, FL – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Florida Forest Service are encouraging Floridians to be cautious with outdoor fire while enjoying time with friends and family this holiday season. Over the summer months, Florida experienced above-normal amounts of precipitation; however, a recent decline in rainfall has increased drought conditions.
“Winter holidays provide a great opportunity for Floridians to enjoy time with friends and family outdoors,” said Commissioner Putnam. “Whether it’s a bonfire or yard work, it is our responsibility to be good stewards as we recreate and be careful with fire outdoors.”
In the fall and winter months, cold fronts move through the state and dry out vegetation. As a result, the underbrush extremely vulnerable to wildfire. Late November saw freezing temperatures reach from the Panhandle down into parts of central Florida. These freezing temperatures dry out the grasses and small brush making them more likely to catch on fire. Relative humidity below 35 percent, lack of rainfall for two weeks or longer and strong dry winds are all components that create extreme fire danger.
“Any fire that starts during these weather conditions could get out of control and spread quickly,” said Jim Karels, Florida Forest Service director.
The department’s Florida Forest Service is urging residents to exercise caution with any type of outdoor burning given current weather conditions and heed these outdoor burning tips:
• Never leave any fire unattended.
• Clear area down to bare soil around campfires and warming fires.
• Do not burn yard waste during dry, windy conditions.
• Report any suspicious fire to 911.
Residents can also mitigate risk of wildfire by clearing leaves and pine needles from the roof and gutters, removing dead vegetation within 30 feet of the home and trimming trees and limbs within 15 feet of the chimney. For more ways to help protect a home against wildfire, visit http://firewise.org/.
The Florida Forest Service manages over one million acres of public forest land on 35 state forests and protects over 26 million acres of private homes, lands and natural resources from wildfire.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit. http://www.FreshFromFlorida.com