Commissioner Putnam and Florida Forest Service Alert Floridians to Heightened Wildfire Danger

Randall Weiseman Ag "Outdoors", Florida, Forestry, General, Industry News Release, Weather

From the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services:

250-Acre Wildfire in San Pedro Bay, Taylor County, Fla.- May 31, 2016 (Picture from FDACS)

250-Acre Wildfire in San Pedro Bay, Taylor County, Fla.- May 31, 2016 (Picture from FDACS)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and the Florida Forest Service urge the public to exercise caution with all outdoor fires due to increased wildfire danger levels throughout the state. Thunderstorms and excessive lightning have sparked wildfires in many coastal areas of the state recently, including the 1,000-acre Tide Swamp Fire in Taylor County that began Sunday, May 29.

“Florida’s wildland firefighters will likely battle additional wildfires in the coming weeks due to dry conditions and increased lightning activity,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “Citizens can do their part by keeping preventable human-caused wildfires at bay and preparing their families and homes for wildfire.”

Lightning accounts for approximately 25 percent of Florida’s annual wildfire activity. Because wildfire danger will rise with increased thunderstorm activity, the Florida Forest Service is urging residents to use caution when using fire outdoors and to remember the following:

• Develop and implement a family wildfire action plan.
• Call 911 or a local Florida Forest Service field unit office immediately in the event of a wildfire.
• Obey Florida’s outdoor burning laws.
• Never burn on windy days.
• Never leave an outdoor fire or hot grill unattended.
• Keep a shovel and water hose handy in case the fire breaks containment.

“When citizens are careful with fire, they are doing more than just protecting themselves and their property,” said Jim Karels, Florida State Forester. “They are helping to protect the lives of Florida’s wildland firefighters and first responders.”

There are approximately 57 active wildfires currently burning throughout Florida. Since January, the Florida Forest Service and its partners have responded to 1,200 wildfires that have burned 18,000 acres.

The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests, provides management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests, while protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. Learn more at