State Division of Forestry Declares Wildfire Threat
Division of Forestry Web site: www.fl-dof.com
Please respond to:
Public Information Officer
Withlacoochee Forestry Center
352-754-6777 ext 119
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Current Wildfire Threat Calls for Community Awareness and Prevention
The recent, repeat occurrences of hard freezes have created an abundance of hazardous wildfire fuel conditions, especially the light weight fuels such as grasses and forest shrubs. The wildfire risks are being further aggravated by the lack of rainfall, low relative humidity and breezy afternoon winds.
It all adds up to a high potential for the increased occurrences of wildland fires that may display more rapid spread rates and increased fire intensities. The majority of wildfire starts during these dry, cold winter periods have been human caused. The Florida Division of Forestry and your county Fire Agencies will appreciate your help in preventing wildfires and protecting your communities by practicing the following “firewise” actions.
If your home is located close to wildland areas where a wildfire could present a threat to your home, become familiar with actions you can take to make your home more “firewise” as well as defensive preparations and actions should you find your home threatened by a wildfire. Information is available on the Division of Forestry Web site at www.dof.state.fl.us, county fire rescue web sites, or by calling the Division of Forestry local office and speaking with their Wildfire Mitigation Specialist.
If you conduct outside burning of yard waste/debris on your property, make sure you are familiar with the state, county, and municipality outdoor burning laws and follow safe burning practices. Ensure you are knowledgeable on any county or municipal restrictions or bans on outdoor burning during these high risk conditions. Currently within the Withlacoochee Forestry Center’s Service area, Lake, Citrus and Sumter County have outdoor burning restrictions in place and Hernando County is in the process of imposing one.
Be aware that woods arson and acts of carelessness by public burning contribute significantly to wildfire cause within our area. If you notice any suspicious activity, please call the arson alert phone number at 1-800-342-5869 or your local fire agency.
Now is a time to be extremely cautious in any outdoor use of fire and be prepared to rapidly report an outbreak of wildfires within your neighborhood or community. With your help, we can keep the risk down.