The governor of Florida, Rick Scott, has declared a State of Emergency due to the recent wildfires and continued forecast weather conditions leading to the potential for further escalation of wildfire potential. Currently over 100 wildfires are burning in the state. Active fires have burned over 20,000 acres with the hardest hit areas being near Florida’s popular tourist areas such as…. So far 19 homes have been reported destroyed. The fires have led to a large number of wildlife sightings in heavily populated areas, as animals flee from the dangers of the fires. Another side effect of these fires has been reduced visibilities in times of light wind, particularly during the overnight hours. This has caused problems for early morning commutes with visibilities near zero. According to Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner, Adam Putnam, this has been the most active wildfire season for Florida since 2011. Patrick Mahoney, a wildfire mitigation specialist, tweeted out the following image which shows the total average burned by year for the past 5 years in the Myakka River District of Florida.
— Patrick M. Mahoney (@FFS_Myakka) April 12, 2017
The below map from the Florida Forestry Service shows the active wildfires in the state as of April 11th at 7:30 AM. Shown on the map are 106 total wildfires with 23 of those impacting individual areas over 100 acres.
The above map shows much of the central and southern portions of the state are approaching drought conditions. As of April 4th, 42.41% of the state in a slight drought according to the US Drought Monitor. Additionally, 13.01% of the state was classified as experiencing a severe drought. No relief appears to be in sight as significant rainfall is not in the forecast for the next several days.