wildfires

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More than 100 people have been waiting for temporary housing for almost two weeks since being displaced by a wildfire that burned through their tiny community in the Florida Panhandle.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Flickr

A firm hired by a state agency to conduct a prescribed burn sparked a weekend wildfire that burned 820 acres and 36 homes in Northwest Florida, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Wednesday.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is asking victims to be safe and patient as they respond to every call after a wildfire tore through the County Sunday. Hundreds of acres were set ablaze, 36 homes were destroyed, but no deaths have been reported. 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Flickr

Florida faced 32 active wildfires Monday, as dry conditions in parts of the state continued to pose a threat for blazes. 

More than 30 wildfires are burning across Florida, and at least three of them are still significant—burning thousands of acres.

Agriculture officials are warning Floridians to use caution due to significantly heightened wildfire risk. Dangerous conditions are present statewide.

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Attorney General Pam Bondi wants new laws to protect people who report sexual misconduct; Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam wants to make sure the state is prepared for a higher-than-normal risk for wildfires; and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis wants to expand worker compensation benefits for first responders so that it includes coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Florida’s top agriculture official wants more funding to fight wildfires. Firefighters worked hard to control this year’s burns, before heavy rainfall cut the season short. But winter weather conditions could fuel more fires in 2018. 

Nicole and Ben Veum had been waiting and waiting for their baby to arrive. Nicole's due date came and went. Her doctor called her in to the hospital — Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital — to induce labor. That was Friday.

"So we were very excited at that point," she said. "And then day after day after day, with not a whole lot of progress."

They tried three different ways of inducing labor. Then, on the third day, with the third attempt, it started working.

Most of Florida was in a drought just one month ago. But on Thursday, the U.S. Drought Mitigation Center published a report stating there are now no areas with abnormally dry conditions. 

Florida officials are urging residents to take precautions and comply with burn bans as forecasts predict even drier conditions going into the spring and summer.

State officials say Florida is having one of its worst wildfire seasons in years. This week on Florida Matters we're talking about the impact these fires have on the state's environment and economy, and whether there's an end in sight for this dry season.


Rain Does Little To Dampen Fire Threats

May 16, 2017
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Flickr

Rain over the weekend helped slow the growth of wildfires in some parts of Florida, but other blazes continued to grow, especially in the southern part of the state.

Florida is alight with wildfires right now, with over 125 burning across the state. This week on Florida Matters we’re talking about the impact these wildfires have on the state’s environment and economy, and whether there’s an end in sight to this dry season.


Forecast Uncertain on Rest of Florida's Fire Season

Apr 18, 2017

The Florida Forest Service says that more than 16,000 acres continue to burn across Florida, and those numbers could climb in the coming weeks. 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Flickr

The Florida Forest Service says more than 100 active wildfires are burning across the state right now.

In Florida, it's always wildfire season. But spring is the time of year when the risk is highest.

Dense smoke from a wildfire has affected air quality and visibility on the road from Miami to West Palm, the Bradenton Herald reports.