In 1998, Florida suffered one of the most devastating wildfires documented, with over 500,000 acres of forest and private lands devastated in Brevard County.
Within the last ten years, Hernando County has had over 270 fires, with 7,143 acres burning due to wildfires. Lightning is a significant factor in causing wildfires.
In 2017, Hernando County and much of the state was in a drought. A front went through Hernando Beach and lightning struck in Weekiwachee Preserve causing a wildfire.
“Florida is one of those states that can go from very wet to very dry,” said Judith Tear, Florida Forest Service Wildfire Mitigation Specialist & Information Officer. “2017 was a pretty high fire activity for the state of Florida and especially in this district.”
Florida is a hurricane state, and many residents know what to do and how to prepare when the hurricane season arrives, however, many are unaware of how to prepare for wildfires.
Florida Wildfire Awareness Week begins Sunday, April 7 and runs through Saturday, April 13.
Here are some best practice tips for the prevention of wildfires:
Campfire safety, learning where and how to maintain and extinguish your campfire
Tossing out cigarette butts have been known to cause wildfires
-Backyard Debris Burning
Know the laws before outdoor burning as well as how to safely burn yard debris
-Farm and Lawn Equipment
Keep chains from scraping the roads and equipment in-check and maintained
By understanding burn laws and learning ways to help prevent wildfires, people can protect their personal property.
“There are steps that they can do to protect their homes,” Judith said. “We have to get that wildfire message out there.
Where to find information:
Florida Forest Service provides information about Wildlife Safety at your local library.
-Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Website: Freshfromflorida.com
Click on the Forest & Wildfire tab to get resources and other valuable information
-Attend the Hernando 2019 Hurricane & Safety Expo on May 4th at the Hernando County Fairgrounds.
– Receive educational materials and talk to our local Foresters from the Florida Forest Service
Florida Forest Service has dedicated Foresters that will speak to you, your organization or school about wildfire safety and how you can prepare your home or land against wildfires.
Contact Matthew Stevens, Senior Forester 352-797-4130