Florida wildfire risk heightened by dry, breezy conditions
Notice all those dead plants and twigs in your yard? They are not mere reminders of a harsh winter; they are kindling, and we have a wildfire risk in Florida that should not be taken lightly.
Most people do not think of Florida when they hear about wildfires. California typically comes to mind. But Florida is consistently ranked among the top 10 states for wildland fires. It was an especially fiery year in 2007, when more than 578,000 acres burned. California had more than one million acres on fire that year. In 2009, more than 124,000 acres burned in Florida. This could be an especially dangerous year for fires because we had the second driest fall season on record and the winter months had below normal rainfall. The Florida Department of Agriculture has a seasonal forecast that may make you want to learn a rain dance.
The top three causes of wildfires in Florida are:
- Escaped Debris Burning
The Florida Division of Forestry has an active wildfire map so you can see what is happening where. If you live close to a wooded area, you need an emergency fire plan. There are many great tips and advice on reducing your fire risk at www.firewise.org.