JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There have already been more than 170 wildfires reported in Florida this year and the Florida Forest Service predicts it will be an active wildfire season for Northeast Florida.
"You can consider Florida having a year-round fire season," Mike Work, the Forestry Operations administrator said. "It's not necessarily that we're in the full trend where we're running fires everyday, but they are picking up slowly."
Florida Forest Service personnel worked two wildfires in St. Johns County this past weekend. One was in the South Hampton neighborhood off County Road 210 where 3 acres of wooded area burned behind homes. Another brush fire burned 2 acres near State Road 207 and Lightsey Road Sunday, causing overnight visibility problems for drivers.
"Today we're at 15 days without rain in our district so the fuels are drying and starting to cure more and more every day," Work said. "The vegetation is starting to grow. While that's happening, the vegetation and trees are sucking in moisture, so they're starting to pull the moisture out of the soil, increasing the risk of wildfires."
Jacksonville is officially in a moderate fire danger level right now. There are some precautions residents can take to reduce the danger of wildfire affecting them.
The Florida Forest Service recommends you to clear dead brush, loose branches, and other buildup from around your home. Make sure your hedges and trees are properly trimmed. Clean out your gutters and clean debris off the roof. Keeping a 30-foot space around your home clear from debris will help firefighters keep nearby flames from spreading to your home.