Wildfire Danger Increasing

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The wildfire in eastern Bay County last week may not have threatened any homes or businesses, but it burned about 60 acres of trees in no time at all.

No rainfall and low humidity combined to play a key role in this fire, and conditions have only gotten worse since then.

Fire officials use something called KBDI to determine the level of fire danger in the area.

Right now Tallahassee has the worst drought conditions, but Bay and Walton Counties are not far behind.

Les Hallman of the South Walton Fire District says, "South Walton in particular has a very long history of having very large wildfires that threaten many, many communities."

Rain would help alleviate the dry conditions. Then again, the lightning that usually accompanies summer storms can ignite the parched timber, but the biggest two reasons for wildfires here in the Panhandle are arson and out-of-control debris fires.

"People will start to burn debris in their yard and they don't know the conditions the winds will blow debris out wherever they’re burning, and start wildfires."

If you do plan to burn trash or debris, always contact the local Division of Forestry office for burning conditions, and make sure you take extra precautions to prevent dangerous fires like this one from threatening you or your neighbors.

You can check the KBDI drought index yourself. Just log onto www.fl-dof.com and click on fire weather to see the drought conditions for your area, or you can call the local Division of Forestry at 850-872-4175.