Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam and the Florida Forest Service announced this week that more than 2,000 wildfires have burned over 150,000 acres in Florida this year, with nearly 125 active wildfires burning as of today, May 8, 2017. Current conditions by county, burn bans, and helpful tips regarding wildfires in Florida can be found on our Current Fire Conditions website.
“Florida is in the middle of its worst wildfire season in years — with no end in sight,” Commissioner Putnam said. “With such an active wildfire season and much of Florida experiencing significant drought conditions, residents and visitors should take every precaution to help prevent wildfire.”
Conditions are forecast to get even drier and warmer into late spring and early summer. May is traditionally one of the driest months of the year in Florida, and that is the expectation for 2017. Commissioner Putnam asked Governor Scott to issue an executive order on April 11, 2017, in order to provide full resources to combat wildfires. The last time a similar executive order was issued was in June 2011.
- See a map showing forecast wildfire danger
- See a map showing active wildfires in Florida
- See a map showing active county burn bans
Wildfires in Florida usually start and spread quickly, leaving little time to prepare for a possible evacuation. Homeowners can complete a few simple tasks that will help to defend their home against wildfire. One of the best ways to reduce a home’s wildfire risk is to create 30 feet of defensible space around the home. When creating defensible space, begin with the area immediately surrounding the home, about 3 feet out on all sides. Make sure this space is free of tall, fire-prone plants and materials. Keep this area clean and free of dead plant material and flammable mulches. Instead, opt for low-growing, fire-resistant plants and materials and use mulches, such as rocks or chunky bark. Deliberately space all plants so that none are placed directly under windows or vents around the house.
To increase home survivability, Floridians can do the following:
- Keep mulch and pine needles away from your home, fence, and deck
- Keep roof and gutter free of pine needles
- Keep flammables away from your home
- Store firewood at least 30 feet from your home
- Remove dead vegetation and debris from under the deck and within 10 feet of your home
- Make wildfire preparedness a family project