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Florida Wildfire Awareness Week

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Important information the community needs to know 

Brooksville, Fla. — Just as you think dealing with the coronavirus was bad enough, another major threat is bearing down… wildfires.

The past couple of weeks the weather has been very dry and hot, which is not the normal condition in Florida this time of the year.  Any chances of rain forecasted within the next week are looking pretty slim and that makes the perfect conditions for wildfires. 

“It was pretty wet at the beginning of the year,”  said Judi Tear, Florida Forest Service Wildfire Mitigation Specialist & Information Officer. “It’s just been in the last three weeks the fire activity has picked up.” 

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As of 3/30/2020, there have been over 70 active wildfires that affected thousands of forest and residential acres in the state of Florida. 

Coronavirus recommendations and restrictions have caused thousands of people to stay at home, and that brings more people fulfilling their time catching up on home property maintenance, yard work as well as making the most out of limited outdoor activities.

“I totally understand what is going on in the world today. Everybody is in self-quarantine and cleaning up their yards and that’s awesome.  It’s just if you are going to use outdoor fire you have to be extremely careful,” Tear said.

An article on the National Park Service website states: 

“Nearly 85 percent* of wildland fires in the United States are caused by humans. Human-caused fires are a result of the burning of debris, campfires left unattended, equipment use and malfunctions, negligently discarded cigarettes and intentional acts of arson.” (https://www.nps.gov/articles/wildfire-causes-and-evaluation.htm) *According to the U.S. Forest Service Research Data Archive 

Tear explained when you are burning leaves or yard debris that it is advised to stay and supervise that fire until it is ‘dead out.’ The term dead out means that once the fire has completely burned the yard debris, there should not be any heat rising from the pile. 

Florida Wildfire Awareness Week is April 5 through April 11 and this just might be the best time to become knowledgeable about wildfire prevention. 

Please see the following links below for more information on how you can help not only protect the forests but your home.

Protecting your Home from Wildfires:

https://www.fdacs.gov/Divisions-Offices/Florida-Forest-Service/For-Communities/Firewise-USA

Keep informed about active wildfires through the Florida Forest Service – Active Wildfire Points Dashboard

Visit https://fdacs.maps.arcgis.com/home/index.html and click on Florida Forest Service Active Wildlife Points.

During this critical time of our lives and the issues that we are currently surrounded by, being mindful of everyone’s safety is of the utmost importance. There are simple things that you can do to help prevent wildfires.  Knowing the law will save more than time, it may save lives. 

 “We want our staff to stay healthy,” Tear said.  “We are all here, abiding by the policies and we are still doing our jobs, that’s what we are here for…protecting the citizens.” 

 

Leslie Stein
Leslie Stein
Leslie Stein has over 35 years experience as a Speech-Language Pathologist working with neurologically impaired adults. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of South Florida in Speech Pathology.
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