Dry, windy weather in forecast, fire danger increases

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 4, 2022

Contact: Mike Mathis, (850) 691-0807

Twitter: @FLForestService & @FFS_Chipola

Dry, windy weather in forecast, fire danger increases

SOUTHPORT, Fla. – The Florida Forest Service’s Chipola Forestry Center is issuing words of warning for anyone considering any outdoor burning activities in the coming days: Use extreme caution.

It has been almost a month since much of the area has seen rainfall and wildfire activity is on the rise. Add to that a forecast calling for winds ranging from 15 to 25 mph and fire officials are braced for a potentially busy weekend.

“We’re seeing conditions that are more like late March, early April – the peak of our fire activity,” said Mike Mathis, Center Manager for Chipola which covers Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Walton and Washington counties. “Unseasonably warm days and a lack of rain have made most of our coverage area susceptible to wildfires earlier than usual.”

Firefighters have responded to more than a dozen wildfires in the past week with little relief in sight. Indicators observed throughout the area have the Fire Danger Index at High to Very High for six of the seven counties.

Residents should always be prepared for the possibility of a wildfire as Florida experiences a year-round fire season that typically peaks from April to June in our area. Wildfires can have a traumatic effect on communities and unlike hurricanes, there is little to no warning. Learn how to create defensible space around your home. Don’t wait for wildfire, be ready now at  www.BeWildfireReadyFL.com.

The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects wildfire on more than 26 million acres. Learn more at FDACS.gov/FLForestService.

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