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Wildfires Hit Central Florida

Local wildfires hit Central Florida and are causing citizens to evacuate their homes.

Local wildfires hit Central Florida and are causing citizens to evacuate their homes.

Brandon Bradley, Copy Editor

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On Tuesday, April 11, 2017, Florida governor, Rick Scott, declared the entire state of Florida to be in a state of emergency due to the mass outbreak in wildfires. As of Sunday, April 16, 2017, there are still over 110 wildfires burning across the state, while other parts are prone to moderate or severe drought, making the land more suitable for increased fire outbreaks.

According to AccuWeather, the U.S. Drought Monitor states that approximately 55 percent of the state is experiencing mild to severe drought conditions. With this outbreak in fires, caused largely by the drought spread across the state, it is believed to be the worst fire season Florida has ever seen, having burned over 120,000 acres since January 2017. The last time Florida experienced a similar fire season was back in 2011.

The Associated Press states that these fires have destroyed at least 19 homes across Florida, and with the increase in fires just in this past weekend, it is likely that more homes will be destroyed. Although there are fires burning all across the state, fires in Central Florida are gaining the most attention, one covering nearly 730 acres in Lakeland, while another covers some 350 acres in Volusia County.

Considering the regular work load that firefighters experience through house fires, car crashes, and even typical medical calls, the outbreak in wildfires has caused a great deal of increased stress for them, as they work toward taming these fires.

Advanced Placement Environmental Science and Ecology teacher Peter Tattersall stated: “Anyone who says ‘April showers bring May flowers,’ has never been to Florida. April is the driest month out of the year in Florida.”

Because April is such a dry month for Florida, it could account for why the amount of fires across the state has drastically increased in just a few weeks.

Mr. Tattersall also added that because areas such as Central Florida are generally quite populated, it tends to worsen the damage that these fires can cause, as they are often around people’s homes. As a direct result of this, people care more about drought and the fires as they arise.

Apart from the severe drought, Mr. Tattersall says he has no clue what could be causing the fires. However, it is possible that people contribute to them through arson or accidental mishaps.

With drought continuing and increased, forecasters predict that these fires could last through June. Several roads and highways have been shut down to accommodate smoke infested roads unsafe for driving.

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Wildfires Hit Central Florida