Wildfires burned nearly 200,000 acres in Florida in the first six months of 2006. The state generally has about 4,000 wildfires and loses about 175,000 acres of woodlands a year.
In 1998, the state's worst wildfire season in more than a decade, wildfires burned about a half million acres and destroyed 342 homes and 34 businesses. Nearly 200,000 acres burned in neighboring St. Johns, Flagler and Volusia counties.
Wildfires generally occur in Florida in the dry spring months, but they can strike at any time. Homeowners can take steps to reduce the risk of losing their homes to wildfires with some simple fire prevention steps.
Protect your home from wildfires
- Create a 30-foot firebreak or safety zone around your house, keeping it free of debris and flammable vegetation.
- Regularly clean your roof and gutters of leaves and pine needles.
- Remove any dead tree branches that extend over your roof and make sure they are clear of the chimney.
- Keep grass mowed around your house and free of leaves and pine needles.
- Keep flammable materials away from the base of all buildings.
- Stack firewood at least 100 feet from your home.
- Keep yard free of trash and debris.
- Remove plants that provide a link between the ground and tree limbs near your home.
For more information about wildfires, visit the Florida Division of Forestry at http://www.fl-dof.com/.