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National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day


Contact: Melissa Yunas

May 2, 2019

(772) 260-0053

Twitter: @FFS_Okeechobee

Saturday, May 4th - National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day

Okeechobee, Fla.– As the dry weather continues, the wildfire risk increases, and the Florida Forest Service, Okeechobee District is encouraging all residents living near a natural area (forest, grassland or prairie) to prepare their home and family before a wildfire occurs. Saturday, May 4 provides residents with the opportunity to participate in the 2019 National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. Please help fire officials bring awareness of this threat to your community.

“The wetter summer and winter aided in the growth of vegetation, which now has produced additional fuel for a wildfire, as the vegetation cures with the drier weather,” explains Forest Area Supervisor Joe deBree with the Florida Forest Service. “Even with nature’s threat, it is possible to minimize the homeowner’s risk by taking protective measures, such as watering your yard regularly and removing dead branches or leaves near or on your home.”

State Firefighters also advise residents to create a 30-foot safety zone around their home by eliminating flash fuels, removing branches overhanging the roof, and thinning overgrown vegetation. Other steps include screening or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire screening no larger than 1/8” mesh to help keep embers out during a fire. Most importantly, keep eaves and gutters clear of leaves and any combustible debris.

  • As a community, neighbors can develop a phone tree, webpage or notification system that can be used to alert everyone about a fire or evacuation. Help an elderly relative or neighbor enter emergency numbers and the names of close relatives into their cell phones; and in large font post their phone number and street address above their landline, so it can easily be seen when providing information to an emergency dispatcher. Make sure all your street signs are constructed with non-flammable material and easy to read.

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


2019 Wildfire Statisitcs January February March April

Glades County

7 wildfire/ 1,599.5 acres

2 wildfires/ 657 acres

3 wildfires/ 95.1 acres

1 wildfire/ 5 acres

Highlands County

5 wildfires/ 31.5 acres

6 wildfires/ 24.8 acres

7 wildfires/ 20.6 acres

7 wildfires/ 10.3 acres

Okeechobee County

8 wildfires/ 117.4 acres

6 wildfires/ 82.1 acres

2 wildfires/ 18 acres

8 wildfires/ 40.5 acres

Martin County

1 wildfire/ 1 acre

0 wildfires

4 wildfires/ 46.5 acres

0 wildfires

St. Lucie County

1 wildfire/ 0.1 acre

4 wildfires/ 9.5 acres

1 wildfire/ 0.5 acres

4 wildfires/ 55.7 acres

Indian River County

2 wildfires/ 12.1 acres

2 wildfires/ 3.1 acres

1 wildfire/ 3 acres

1 wildfire/ 24.5 acres

Please note that Florida has a broad public records law (Chapter 119, Florida Statutes).

Most written communications to or from state employees are public records obtainable

by the public upon request. Emails sent to me at this email address may be considered

public and will only be withheld from disclosure if deemed confidential pursuant to the

laws of the State of Florida.

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