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State of Emergency Declared as Wildfires Burn Tens of Thousands of Acres and Dozens of Homes Across the State

April 11th, 2017 by Jake Stofan

The governor declared a state of emergency Tuesday morning as 107 wildfires burn across the state.

From the everglades to the panhandle, more than one hundred wildfires are raging all across the state, some as large as 5,000 acres.
“We’ve burned almost 70,000 acres so far this year. We’ve lost almost 30 homes. So this is clearly a significant wildfire season,” said Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam Putnam.
2017 has seen three times as much land burned than last year.
So far this year 90% of fires have been caused by humans either intentionally or from carelessness.
Seven counties have implemented burn bans.
“Please comply with the burn bans, burn restrictions. Don’t think that you’re going to be the exception. It only takes one spark to put the woods on fire and put homes and lives at risk,” said Putnam.
With lightening season just around the corner firefighters worry the worst could be on the horizon.
“If it stays dry in the rest of April and May, we’ve got some major problems coming,” said Jaim Karels, Director of the Florida Forrest Service.
Governor Rick Scott’s declaration allows resources to be brought in from the south east to help fight the fires.
“I’m talking to the National Guard as we speak and we’ll be bringing up some of their aviation helicopters,” said Karels, “That’ll help us spread our helicopters around and have better response across the state.”
Fire Fighters have said with help from national guard helicopter support they should have the tools they need to deal with the fires in their current state.
The real test will be this summer during the peak of lightning season.
Governor Rick Scott also declared this week Wildfire Awareness Week.

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