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Environment

Wildfires Rage Across Parched Florida

5-11StarkeyFire.png
Chris Sampson, WUSF
/
Starkey Wilderness Preserve Fire

More than 140 wildfires are burning in the state of Florida today.

It's a "red flag warning" day in inland portions of West Central Florida today, which means high winds, no rain in sight and low humidity. Florida remains under a state of emergency because of a rash of wildfires, with a declaration from the governor last month.  

As of May 10th, an outdoor burning ban is in effect for 40 of Florida's 67 counties. That means anyone burning trash or leaves may be subject to fines if they're caught. That's regardless of whether they know about the ban. And fines start at $500. 

The Brooksville office of the Florida Forest Service says nine of the current wildfires they're monitoring are in Hernando and Pasco Counties, including a fire in Starkey Wilderness Preserve that has charred more than 2,000 acres.

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That video came from Chris Sampson, a WUSF employee who lives in the River Ridge neighborhood of New Port Richey. He called the Starkey Preserve his "backyard."  

Since the start of this year, there have been nearly 2,000 wildfires that have scorched 159,000 acres across the state. 

This is peak time for wildfires in Florida and state officials have said it's the worst fire season they've seen in years. Officials are asking people in Florida to do everything they can to prevent wildfires.  

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