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Firefighters Hoping for a Strong Rainy Season as Fires Blaze Across the State

May 16th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
Tuesday began with 134 actively burning wildfires in the state.
The fires have scorched 170,000 acres of land in the State since the beginning of the year and firefighters are hoping the rapidly approaching rainy season will bring relief.
Florida’s peninsula has received less than half of its annual average rainfall this year.
The dry spell has manifested itself in the massive, billowing West Mims fire.
The fire has consumed more than 150,000 acres in Florida and Georgia since it began in early April.
Embattled firefighters are hoping the state’s rainy season, which usually begins in late May offers relief.
“The National Interagency of Fire Standards shows elevated fire conditions for us all the way to August which is not the norm in Florida,” said Jim Karles, Director of Florida Forrest Service.
If rains don’t materialize, or are less than the normal seasonal rainfall of 18 to 20 inches, the fire danger could increase.
“What you need really is widespread areas where you get multiple inches of rain,” said Parks Camp with the National Weather Service.
The National Weather Service says even if the wet season does bring showers, the worst could still be yet to come.
“Problems we have with especially the beginning of the rainy season is with the thunderstorms as you get lightening,” said Camp.
That prospect has firefighters worried.
“A thunderstorm is isolated and the winds that it blows and where it’s not raining, it’s causing severe fire conditions,” said Karels.
For any major relief,  the National Weather Service says it will take multiple heavy sustained rains across the state.
“Weak tropical storm or tropical depression or something like that, that produces a lot of rain across the area that can change things tremendously. It can help,” said Camp.
The National Weather Service will be coming out with it’s 2017 hurricane forecast in the next few weeks, but the number is only an estimate of how many storms will form, and not how many will actually make landfall.
Preliminary predictions from The Weather Company suggest 2017 will be a nearly average year with an estimated 12 named storms.

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