FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 9

FEATURE

FLORIDA WILDLAND FIRES
ON THE RISE

By JIM KARELS, Florida State Forester
IN FLORIDA, WE routinely experience an
increase in wildland fire activity from April
through June. However, due primarily to
our climate and volatile fuels, our state
has a year-round fire season. We have
been fortunate over the past few years
with below average wildfire activity. For
example, in 2014 Florida experienced
2,000 fires that burned 88,955 acres statewide - this was the lowest annual number
of fires since 1981.
In contrast, as of May 8, 2017, Florida
has already experienced more than 1,967
fires that have burned 95,385 acres, with
significant fires in Broward, Collier, Glades,
Hernando, Pasco, Marion, Franklin, Lee,
Baker, Gulf, Nassau, Polk and the West
Mims Fire straddling the Florida-Georgia
State line near the Okefenokee Swamp. All
these fires prompted the commissioner of
agriculture to ask the governor to issue an
executive order in support of the increasing need to respond to wildfires throughout the state.
Although lightning-caused fires generally increase in the spring of each year,
on average 80 percent of all wildfires

in Florida are human-caused. Because
many of our fires are started by causes
that are preventable, our joint FFS/Fire
Department wildfire prevention and mitigation efforts are critically important
throughout the year. Wildfires that don't
start cannot injure residents, firefighters,
or cause damage to structures or our natural resources.
Our efforts in wildfire mitigation focus
on hazardous fuel reduction and, equally
as important, information and education
on how residents can protect their homes
and property from the destructive effects
of wildfire through fire adapted communities. Fire adapted communities provide
less need for protection efforts and provide a safer working environment for firefighters as they protect Florida's people
and property.
Also at risk during these destructive wildfires is Florida's valuable
timber resource, which has already suffered from wildfires so far this year.
Unfortunately, the long-range forecast for our state is more warm, dry
and windy conditions with low relative

Florida Forests 9 Spring/Summer 2017

humidity. The West Mims fire is of critical concern due to its size, the current
lack of containment and the high number of private timbered acres located
in its path. If this wildfire enters Florida,
timber resources, homes and improvements will be threatened. We are preparing for this, and our plan is to hold
it at the St. Mary's River.
For additional information on
what you can do to lower the wildfire
risk around homes in your community, how to help in wildfire prevention efforts and how to spread the
preparedness messages before wildfire strikes, please visit our website at
www.floridaforestservice.com. *

Jim Karels is
Florida's State
Forester and
serves as Director
of the Florida
Forest Service.


http://www.floridaforestservice.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017

Executive Outlook
President’s Message
Wildland Fires on the Rise
William Cook Inducted Into AG Hall of Fame
2017 Legislative Report
Forestry Day at the Capitol
Putting the Action in Political Action
Taxing Matters
An Audience With the President
2017 Florida Southern Pine Beetle Forecast
UF Sfrc Welcomes Terrell Baker
Snapshots
Products & Services Marketplace
Index of Advertisers/ advertisers.com
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Intro
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover1
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover2
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 3
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 4
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 5
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Executive Outlook
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - President’s Message
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 8
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Wildland Fires on the Rise
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - William Cook Inducted Into AG Hall of Fame
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 11
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 2017 Legislative Report
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 13
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Forestry Day at the Capitol
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Putting the Action in Political Action
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 16
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Taxing Matters
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 18
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - An Audience With the President
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 20
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 2017 Florida Southern Pine Beetle Forecast
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 22
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - UF Sfrc Welcomes Terrell Baker
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Snapshots
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 25
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 26
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 27
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Products & Services Marketplace
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - 29
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - Index of Advertisers/ advertisers.com
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover3
FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2017 - cover4
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