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Florida Forest Service Gives Wildfire Update

Florida Forest Service

Officials with the Florida Forest Service say recent rains are not enough to tamp down the hundreds of wildfires raging across the state. Parts of the state are still in a drought.

“I got my fingers crossed that the patterns are changing, but we’ll see," said Jim Karels, director of the Florida Forest Service.

Credit Florida Forest Service
Florida Forest Service

This past winter was the second warmest in Florida’s history and one of the driest. Karels said a couple days of rain doesn’t make up for months of below average precipitation.

“So, we’ve got a ways to go yet," he said. "A lot of fire starting to develop in the conservation areas - the conservation lands. Everglades down there is two fires about 5,000 acres each."

More than 200,000 acres have burned and Karels is keeping an eye on a South Georgia fire near Baker County. Ahead of the holiday weekend, many counties have burn bans in place.

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Sarah Mueller is the first recipient of the WFSU Media Capitol Reporting Fellowship. She’ll be covering the 2017 Florida legislative session and recently earned her master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois Springfield. Sarah was part of the Illinois Statehouse press corps as an intern for NPR Illinois in 2016. When not working, she enjoys playing her yellow lab, watching documentaries and reading memoirs.
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