As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson and the Florida Forest Service are encouraging Floridians to use caution with fire and fireworks while celebrating.
Since the first of this year, 1,889 wildfires have burned more than 85,000 acres throughout Florida.
“With Florida’s year-round wildfire season and our fire-prone vegetation, there is always a risk of wildfire,” said Commissioner Simpson. “As we gather with friends and family to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday — with cookouts, campouts, fireworks — I’m urging all Floridians to use fire and fireworks responsibly, because we all have a role in keeping our communities and our first responders safe from wildfire.”
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“The potential for wildfires is always increased with backyard burning and the use of fireworks,” said Florida Forest Service Director Rick Dolan. “Please be aware of your surroundings, especially when using fireworks near brush or wooded areas.”
Residents and visitors should always check local laws before using fireworks. Local fire and police departments as well as the State Fire Marshal’s Office can also provide guidance. If choosing to celebrate with fireworks, grills, or campfires, follow these safety tips:
- Light fireworks in a cleared area free of vegetation or dry debris;
- Clear debris from around campfires, grills, and all fire sources;
- Remove debris from any location where fireworks could land;
- Always have a water source available;
- Aim fireworks away from people, homes, and wooded areas;
- Never use homemade fireworks;
- Discard used fireworks in a bucket of water;
- Store unused fireworks, matches, and lighters out of the sight and reach of children;
- Never leave a fire unattended and ensure it is completely out before leaving it;
- Report any fire immediately to 9-1-1.
To view current wildfire conditions in Florida, including active wildfires and additional fire safety information, visit FDACS.gov/CurrentWildfires.
There are many tools that can help reduce the chances of a catastrophic wildfire, including creating defensible space, safely burning yard waste, utilizing prescribed burning, and reporting suspicious arson activity. To learn how to protect your life, home, and community, visit BeWildfireReadyFL.com.
The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland, and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire.
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