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Wildfires

  • The Florida Forest Service lowered the risk of wildfires in the region mid-May as the Sunshine State moves into its typical summer rainy season.
  • Everywhere listeners can hear WGCU Public Media on the radio is within the Southwest Florida region where dry soil and warm temperatures have had wildland firefighters on “high alert” since last week. The Keetch-Byram Drought Index, a measure of the lack of moisture in the soil, has been showing the region increasingly parched during the last two weeks, another harbinger of wildfire. The indicators were right. New wildfires of about 30 acres each, one near Immokalee and the other on the Lee-Hendry county line, were reported early this week, and a seven-acre fire in Highlands County is controlled, as well as a 41-acre blaze in the heavily wooded Rotunda West area of Charlotte County. A wildfire that scorched more than 20,500 acres east of Miami-Dade County over the weekend has been contained.
  • As often happens when the Florida’s short winter turns to spring, wildfire finds fuel first among the woods in the Panhandle. A flicker in March grew to a blaze that scorched more than 30,000 acres in three counties amid the dead trees and dried vegetation left in the wake of Category 5 Hurricane Michael in 2018. In what is today’s Interstate 10’s east-west corridor, millions of pines have been planted during the last century by St. Joe Company, a lumber producer-turned-land developer, and Michael’s top winds of 155 miles per hours felled and splintered an untold number of trees. In the three years since, Florida’s heat turned timber into tinder. And then as in many years past, the threat of wildfire moves to South Florida. Today, every place where listeners can hear WGCU FM is within a region where wildfires are not just a concern but a significant possibility, according to the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, which is a measure of the lack of moisture in the soil.
  • If you see a huge plume of smoke rising into the sky this time of year in Florida, there is a good chance it’s an under-control wildland burn that has little chance of spreading as opposed to a raging wildfire heading your way. Wildland management agencies take advantage of the early part of the dry season in Florida to purposely burn smaller tracts of land. Called “prescribed burns,” the fires are lit and managed by trained woodland firefighters to help manage the woods as well as avoid larger, out-of-control wildfires later on. Prescribed fires, also called controlled burns, restore overall environmental health to ecosystems that rely on the burn-and-regrow cycle to thrive. Fire managers first have to write out a follow a safety plan, or prescription, for each burn.
  • Florida officials are warning residents to be vigilant as dry conditions are producing high wildfire risks across the state.
  • A lightning strike started a 17,000-acre wildfire in the eastern Everglades that threatened Monday to cause smoky conditions on Interstate 75 through...
  • Residents in the Tampa Bay area are dealing with lingering smoke after a brush fire at Brooker Creek Preserve this week. East Lake Fire Rescue, Oldsmar...
  • The state is looking to prescribed fires to clean up the massive amount of timber left after Hurricane Michael. Tall Timbers’ Wildland fire scientist,...
  • Environment
    Toward the end of last year, the Camp Fire ravaged Paradise, California. The wildfire took dozens of lives and some people are still missing. A few months…
  • 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...