Since January, more than 1,500 wildfires have burned approximately 89,307 acres of Florida land.
To Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, that’s cause for concern this Independence Day. While he expects Floridians to use fireworks on Wednesday, he is encouraging them to do so with care.
“While recent rainfall has lowered wildfire risk across the state, Floridians and visitors should keep a few safety tips in mind while enjoying fireworks and cookouts with friends and family this Independence Day,” Putnam, who also oversees the Florida Forest Service, said in a prepared statement.
Among the recommended precautions: light fireworks away from debris and vegetation; always have a water source available; aim fireworks properly; discard used fireworks in water; and report fires to 9-1-1.
Putnam’s PSA comes a little more than a week after a wildfire in Franklin County consumed 36 homes in the town of Eastpoint. The blaze, which damaged four more homes, was caused by a controlled burn — proving that even despite the increased rainfall, wildfires in the Sunshine State continue to be a very real possibility.
According to the Florida Forest Service, there are county-wide bans on burning yard debris in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Orange and Duval counties.
The FFS encourages Floridians to check for active prescribed burns and wildfire conditions by using the “FLBurnTools” app. It can be accessed via the Apple App Store or Google Play.
An online tool here shows Floridians the exact location of active or contained wildfires in the state.