Outdoor Summer Fun and the Risk of Wildfires
June 1, 2017

Many locals enjoy spending time in the beautiful Florida scenery during the summer months. However, an innocent day outdoors this summer season may come with a serious risk, especially if you use cigarettes.  Due to the continued hot, dry and windy conditions, Marion County officials signed an emergency declaration putting a countywide burn ban into effect in April.  Since then, over 700 acres in North Marion County have succumbed to wildfire.  Fortunately, the fires have been contained and no lives were lost.

   

The Florida Department of Agriculture reports that in the first six months of 2017, nearly 2,300 separate wildfires burned approximately 234,000 acres throughout the state of Florida.  Record low rainfall contributed to the extreme dry conditions. From January - April 2016 the total rainfall for Florida was 15.76 inches, as compared to January – April 2017, where the total rainfall was 9.19 inches.

What is the main cause of these fires? Humans. According to the National Park Service, as many as 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by humans. Some human-caused fires result from campfires left unattended, the burning of debris, negligently discarded cigarettes, and intentional acts of arson.  Consider leaving cigarettes OUT of your outdoor summer plans. 

For more information on current fire conditions and wildfire prevention and safety, visit Florida Department of Agriculture/Current Fire Conditions.  For more information on QuitDoc Foundation or tobacco use and quitting visit www.QuitDoc.com or contact Tammy Slaughter at TSlaughter@QuitDoc.com or 352.359.5357.