More fires than average have broken out in Northeast Florida this summer because of dry weather, including a nearly 1000-acre wildfire is burning in Baker County.
The 995-acre wildfire in the Osceola National Forest is several miles north of I-10 and poses no threat to buildings.
Florida Forest Service wildfire mitigation specialist Annaleasa Winter said the fire is large, but not unusually so. Wildfires are part of Florida’s natural ecosystem cycle, helping clear brush and keep the canopy from closing, she said.
Summer fires are most often started by lightning and, Winter said, a below-average amount of rainfall in June and July has led to more wildfires than usual. She said they become a problem when they occur around developed areas, and making sure your home is fire safe is a good way to prevent their spread.
"Think about your home, and if there are any flammable materials on my roof, on my deck, around my home, keeping your grass irrigated and well mowed, and cleaning up dry materials like pine straw and leaf litter,” Winter said.