April 7, 2015
The Florida Forest Service has designated April 5 through 11 as Wildfire Awareness Week. This educational program was created in memory of Florida’s devastating wildfires of 1998, when more than 500,000 acres and 337 homes and buildings were damaged or destroyed by wildfires.
Since January of this year, 629 wildfires have burned more than 6,900 acres in Florida. Most of these fires were caused by human carelessness.
Spring is the most active fire time during Florida’s year-round wildfire season. Typical dry, windy weather makes even the smallest spark potentially hazardous.
The Florida Forest Service is urging citizens to remember the following:
- Check with local city or county officials to learn if there are any burn restrictions in the area.
- Obey Florida’s outdoor burning laws and obtain an authorization from the Florida Forest Service for burn piles greater than eight feet in diameter.
- Never leave a fire unattended; make sure it is completely out before leaving.
- Keep a shovel and water hose handy to contain a fire.
- Always report suspected arson to local law enforcement officials. You can also call the state’s Arson Alert Hotline at (800) 342-5869.