April 10, 2019
Many Floridians recognize the image of Smokey the Bear, reminding all “Only you can prevent wildfires.” During Wildfire Awareness Week, the Florida Forestry Service and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reminds Florida residents to exercise caution when burning outdoors.
According to the Florida Forestry Service, more than 7,381 acres have burned in the Sunshine State from 490 wildfires since January.
In the Sunshine State, the leading causes of wildfires are escaped yard debris and unauthorized debris burns. Early spring and summer are the peak time for wildfires in the state. However, wildfires can occur at any time during the year.
The wildfire threat in North Florida is currently ten times greater than normal, given that nearly 3 million acres were impacted and 72 million tons of tree debris were left behind in the wake of Hurricane Michael October of last year. This threat was demonstrated by the recent wildfires in Callaway, which burned 500 acres of land, and threatened multiple structures.
Florida Wildfire Awareness Week was created in recognition of Florida’s devastating 1998 wildfire season, when more than half a million acres burned, and 337 structures were damaged or destroyed by wildfires. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services gives up-to-date information on current wildfire conditions.