71ºF

Dry forecasts pose ideal conditions for potential wildfires

photo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Saturday is expected to be another dry day in Florida, which could mean bad news when it comes to the potential for wildfires. Across the state, more than 100 wildfires are burning, including major ones in Lee, Collier and Polk counties.

Last month, a major fire broke out in Bryceville that burned 700 acres. Since then, a few other smaller fires have started and been brought under control. A map released by the Florida Forestry Service shows that Northeast Florida, specifically Baker and Nassau counties, are considered at high risk for wildfires.

Governor Rick Scott spoke in Collier County on Friday about a wildfire burning nearly 5000 acres that forced the evacuation of more than 7,000 homes. The scope of the fire has warranted President Trump to approve emergency federal funding to help fight the fire.

“If you’ve got anything in your yard that you think can easily catch on fire, get rid of it. You’ve got to get rid of it now. We are dry and we are going to be dry for quite a while,” Scott said.

Earlier in the week, officials extended the burn ban in Nassau County. On Friday, a burn ban was issued for Putnam County. 

Just yesterday, firefighters quickly contained fires in Orange Park and Interlachen.

Baker is the only other county in the area with a burn ban in place, according to Forestry officials. In total, 19 counties in the state are under burn bans.

In Charlton County, Georgia, a fire continues to burn in the Okeefenokee Swamp, where firefighters said they believe they have it contained with no threat to any homes or structures.

The fire forced a closure of Stephen C. Foster State Park to visitors on Friday.

Fire officials said they believe the area could be in for another long fire season. They, like many others, hope heavy rains will eventually help cut the risk.