Local Wildfires Keep Burn Ban in Effect: Clay County Blaze Now Burning
Since the beginning of the year there have been more than 1500 fires in the state of Florida, and as result 400 homes have been destroyed.
Now there are at least 20 fires still burning here in North Central Florida, consequently the ban on burning hasn't lifted. Florida's Division of Forestry says that nearly 700 acres of land have burned right here in north Florida this season.
WCJB has learnedÂ as of Friday, April 20 at 5:47 that authorities are battling another fire in Clay county near Bostwick. The blaze, authorities said wasn't threatening any homes, but fire crews are scrambling to contain the fire.
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According to Ludie Ehlers, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist said a lot of smoke is moving in from the southern part of the Georgia wildfire, "We happen to be experiencing North/Northeast winds over the last couple of days and weÂ will still throughout the weekend."
Ehlers who is with the Florida Division of Forestry says that as a result, a mandatory burn ban is in effect in Alachua, Union, Braford and Clay counties, while Levy's is voluntary.
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The best cure is prevention, says Ehler's,"The #1 cause of brush fires and wild fires throughout the state of Florida year round is escaped back yard pile debris burn."
While fire rescue teams have been able to save 1300 homes in the state, ehlers has advice for home owners,
"you should never leave your fire unattended you should not burn on windy days, keep a rake or water hose nearby."
Right now there are 310 acres of fire that are being monitored, Ehlers says that luckily they are in interior swamp land.
When asked if recent rain would alleviate the ban, she says, "The rain we got the other night was nice because we hadn't had any... but along with it comes some very gusty winds," which along with dry pine provides fuel for the fires. And with 27 inches of rain since the beginning of the year, it'll take vigilance from the community to prevent more fires from starting.
To view for yourself where fires are located and how wide they areÂ you can check out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration web site: www.firedetect.noaa.gov/viewer.htm
By Stacey Samuel, WCJB TV20 News
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