Agriculture Press Release
January 7, 1999
Wildfire Threat Is Growing, Crawford Says
TALLAHASSEE Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford today issued a wildfire warning throughout the state due to the continued lack of rainfall and this weeks freeze.
"We already are below our normal rainfall and entering what is our driest season," Crawford said. "And this weeks freeze will cause a significant amount of dead vegetation, whose fuels just add to the wildfire threat."
Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, record low temperatures for the date were recorded in many parts of North and Central Florida as freezing temperatures in the interior part of the state reached as far south as Lake Okeechobee.
Floridas drought index stands as high as 600 in several North Florida counties in an index ranging from 0 to 800, with 800 characterized as "desert-like" conditions. Most other parts of the state are in the 500 range.
Last spring and summer, when record heat and drought triggered an unprecedented 2,300 wildfires that burned 500,000 acres, the states drought index ranged from 730 to 798.
Among steps recommended by Crawford to minimize problems:
Rural landowners also can reduce the likelihood of wildfire destroying their property by taking additional steps, Crawford said. They include:
For additional information about wildfire prevention, citizens are encouraged to contact a local Division of Forestry field office.
For more information: