More Florida firefighters going to western states


Florida is sending 24 more wildland firefighters out west. Members of the Florida Forest Service departed Thursday from Tampa for Salt Lake City and will be assigned to fires raging in Utah, Arizona, Colorado and Montana.

Once in the field, they will bring to 91 the number of Florida firefighters helping to combat the western blazes.

“Florida Forest Service firefighters have proven their bravery and ability time and again when fighting Florida's wildfires,” State Forester Jim Karels said in a prepared statement. “They are exceptionally well-trained and know how to suppress wildfires aggressively and safely.”

More than 250,000 acres of state and federal lands in Florida were consumed by fires in the first half of this year, with 49 homes destroyed and 64 damaged, before heavy rains started to saturate the ground in early June.