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Agriculture Press Release

December 29, 1999

Crawford Cautions Public About Increasingly Dry Conditions

TALLAHASSEE Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford is asking residents and visitors to be especially safety conscious during the holidays as the dry weather continues to make conditions ripe for wildfires.

"Its crucial that the public be aware of these conditions and careful not to inadvertently set a fire," Crawford said. "We need to be especially mindful of the potential danger fireworks may create during New Years celebrations."

The state is experiencing below average rainfall with the driest conditions in north and northwest Florida. Some areas are 15 inches or more below average. Several wildfires have been sparked recently by outdoor equipment use.

Crawford says there are steps people can take to protect themselves and their property:

  • Do not throw lighted materials out of a motor vehicle.
  • Be cautious when parking cars near dry grass.
  • Be cautious when using outdoor tools and equipment that can create sparks.
  • Clear away vegetation, yard trash and other materials that can act as fuel for fires. Its recommended homeowners create a 30-foot buffer zone around their houses.
  • Clear roofs and gutters of leaves, pine straw and twigs.
  • Do not store combustibles in the garage or near the house. For example, firewood should be stored away from structures.
  • Be extremely careful when discarding fireplace and barbecue ashes. They may still be smoldering and can ignite a fire.

Crawford is also urging residents to contact their local Division of Forestry district office before doing any outdoor burning. Commissioner Crawford would like to wish everyone a happy New Year and says by following these tips, residents can keep it a safe one as well.

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For more information:

Liz Compton

(850) 488-3022


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