MILTON — Almost two dozen firefighters and support personnel from the Florida Forest Service’s Blackwater Forestry Center have been sent to other parts of the state to help fight the increasing number of wildfires.
With a reduced but adequate number of resources remaining to protect Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties, officials have increased the Fire Readiness Level and temporarily suspended issuance of burn authorizations as a precautionary step. There are no burn bans in place.
“Our fire activity has been held in check because of overnight moisture and early morning fog,” David Smith, operations administrator for Blackwater, said. “We’re not seeing the number or size of fires that they are in other parts of the state so it’s safe to send some of our people out to help.
“With that said, we’re keeping the people and equipment we need here to respond to any fire we get in our coverage area.”
Florida currently has 104 active wildfires that have burned more than 24,000 acres. Since Jan. 1, there have been 1,627 fires for 80,335 acres. There are two fires in all of Blackwater currently for a total of 2.1 acres.