U.S. Forest Service responding to wildfires

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The U.S. Forest Service is concerned about the ongoing dry conditions causing wildfire danger to be high.  Apalachicola National Forest firefighters have responded to several wildfires since Sunday.

North Florida is experiencing the effects of dry conditions, low humidity, unpredictable winds, and increasing temperatures that can lead to increased numbers of wildfires.

Wildfires that burn out of control can impact forest lands and threaten the safety of people and property.

Allen Smith, Deputy District Ranger for the Apalachicola National Forest, says, “The low rainfall levels and unseasonable heat are of concern.  People need to keep wildfire prevention in mind during this high fire danger period.”

The Forest Service’s main deterrent to wildfire is the ongoing prescribed fire program on the Apalachicola National Forest.  Burning over 100,000 acres a year, forest managers are able to improve wildlife habitat, eliminate vegetation build up and reduce the threat of wildfires.
Public lands are unique, valuable resources for which the public has a shared responsibility in their care. Despite all our good intentions, carelessness starts more wildfires than lightning and increases the risks to firefighters as well as the public, including their homes and property.   

Fire managers ask that every person in the local area be “Firewise” and help prevent human-caused fires during this period of high fire danger.  People living near or visiting public lands can help fire managers in the following ways:
Follow campfire safety rules
Be careful with pile and debris burning.
Ensure a spark-arresting device is on any internal or external combustion engines, like those found on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and motorcycles.
Contact your local Ranger District Office for additional information or to report wildfires.

Smoke will be visible from wildfires in Tallahassee and surrounding areas.  Local residents are reminded to always drive with caution in smoky conditions and please remember to reduce speed and turn headlights on if visibility is affected.