Florida Forest Service launches website aimed at wildfire education, safety

Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 6:28 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Two years after Hurricane Michael, the damage is still seen in many places.

The Florida Forest Service says 2. 8 million acres of trees were either broken or blown over

That damage is now causing foresters to issue a warning about the increase likelihood of forest fires.

In Gadsden County, the Emergency Management Director told WCTV that Hurricane Michael caused 400 million dollars of damage to the county.

The Florida Forest Service compared downed trees to a box of matched sticks that could be lit at any time.

Gadsden County Emergency Management Director, Shawn Wood, said, “A lot of people use forestry as a way of income or retirement and it was totally destroyed.”

After Hurricane Michael ripped through North Florida two years ago, thousands and thousands of downed trees remain.

Wood said, “There is so many downed trees that it will become an issue those trees that have been down two years as the summer season comes it’ll become very dangerous for a lot of areas.”

Some of the dangers include wildfires that can quickly spread.

And although Florida is the lightening capital of the word.

The Florida Forest Service says the number one cause of wildfires is people.

“The accidental burning, or whether it be, you know, arson is also a cause of that so the human factor is there and it is extremely important for folks to know that,” FFS Chief of Forest Protection, John Raulerson, explained.

Thursday, FFS announced the launch of their Be Wildfire Ready Florida website, which will have important resources and information to protect your home against fires.

Raulerson says it’s important to have a plan in place because a fire could be inevitable.

“Have those sensitive documents, have those family heirlooms that can never be replaced. Like I said, it’s important for folks to have a plan if a wildfire comes because it moves so quickly,” said Raulerson.

The Be Wildfire Ready Florida website also has important numbers to local forest dispatch offices in case of a fire.

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