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No End in Sight to Wildfires

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Posted: Monday, May 15, 2017 1:00 am | Updated: 9:08 am, Sun May 21, 2017.

Nearly 125 wildfires were active in the state this week, and the dry conditions are expected to continue into the early summer, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said. "Florida is in the middle of its worst wildfire season in years, with no end in sight," Putnam said in a prepared statement. "With such an active wildfire season and much of Florida experiencing significant drought conditions, residents and visitors should take every precaution to help prevent wildfire."

Gov. Rick Scott on April 11 declared a state of emergency across Florida due to the increased wildfires, a move intended to make it easier for agencies to share firefighting resources. Since the start of the year, there have been more than 2,000 wildfires in Florida, burning more than 150,000 acres.

Wildfires in Florida usually start and spread quickly, leaving little time to prepare for evacuation.

Homeowners can complete a few simple tasks that will help to defend their home against wildfire.

One of the best ways to reduce a home's wildfire risk is to create 30 feet of defensible space around the home. When creating defensible space, begin with the area immediately surrounding the home, about 3 feet out on all sides. Make sure this space is free of tall, fire-prone plants and materials. Keep this area clean and free of dead plant material and flammable mulches. Instead, opt for low-growing, fire-resistant plants and materials and use mulches, such as rocks or chunky bark. Deliberately space all plants so that none are placed directly under windows or vents around the house.

To increase home survivability, Floridians can do the following:

- Keep mulch and pine needles away from your home, fence, and deck;

- Keep roof and gutter free of pine needles;

- Keep flammables away from your home;

- Store firewood at least 30 feet from your home;

- Remove dead vegetation and debris from under the deck and within 10 feet of your home; and

- Make wildfire preparedness a family project.

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