Cool, dry weather prompts caution from Florida Forest Service on outdoor burning

Posted on March 19, 2019 by Staff reports

As Northwest Florida starts to reach the peak of its year-round wildfire season, officials with the Florida Forest Service are asking residents to be careful if they choose to burn yard debris.

“This cold front has brought cooler temperatures and lower humidity into the area,” said David Smith, Operations Administrator for the Blackwater Forestry Center. “That combination can dry vegetation out very quickly and allow fire to spread despite the fact we have had rain recently.”

Spring often is a great time to get the yard in shape and that leads people to pile and burn limbs, brush and other materials. With cold, dry weather in place for the next several days, it could lead to a dangerous situation. Residents are asked to follow the required setbacks and be extra cautious as low humidity and higher winds can cause a fire to escape quickly. Always keep a charged water hose handy to dose and fire that might flare up, never turn your back on a fire, don’t go inside “just for a minute,” and be sure your fire is dead out before leaving it unattended. If your fire does escape, call 911 immediately so firefighters can respond quickly.

The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. Learn more at