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Florida Forest Service battles wildfire over weekend, urges safety precautions on Fourth of July

Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 9:13 PM CDT
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SOUTHPORT, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -

The Florida Forest Service was battling a wildfire in a wooded area in Southport over the weekend when they got a little help Monday from Mother Nature.

“We did get a little bit of rain on it, a real light shower. It cools it down, and gets it closer to the ground,” said Mitigation Specialist for the Florida Forest Service Steve Weherley. “It gives them an opportunity to get in there and get their equipment in while the flame lengths are lower and less intensive.”

While officials say no structures are threatened, they’re hoping July will bring more rain to keep the fire threat low.

“We’ll start getting out of some of this dry weather we’ve had and start to get a little bit wet,” said Weherley. “Hopefully that’ll happen this year, you never can tell but that’s what we’re hoping for.”

Officials also say with the Fourth of July around the corner, they want locals to celebrate and have fun, but if you plan on doing any outdoor burning, they want you to do it safely.

“Be cautious with any outdoor burning, any fireworks if it’s allowed in your area,” Weherley added. “Just don’t shoot them off into the woods, and if you see something, call it in immediately, so we can get on it and take care of it.”

Weherley says it also applies to grilling, “Make sure that your grill is in a place that’s safe, and you’re not going to drop hot embers from that grill on the ground that’s going to ignite.”

As of 4 p.m. Monday, officials say the Fred Anderson Road fire had burned 240 acres and was 95 percent contained.

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