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4-27-17

WILDFIRE THREAT HIGH – DISTRICT URGES CAUTION

Submitted by Katelyn Potter, SRWMD Communications Director

LIVE OAK, FLA., Apr. 26, 2017 – Dry conditions throughout the area have the Suwannee River Water Management District (District) urging residents and visitors to District public lands to be cautious with fire in order to protect our natural resources. As an added precaution, campfires on District lands have been banned until weather conditions improve.

“The safety of our residents, visitors and natural resources is paramount. Ensuring we are doing everything possible to prevent a wildfire is of the upmost importance to the District,” said Noah Valenstein, executive director for the District.

The District’s campfire guidelines use the Florida Forest Service’s Fire Danger Maps and Fire Danger Index Report to gauge dry conditions and make determinations on campfire safety. Counties with a fire danger index of “moderate” or greater are prohibited from having campfires on District lands. All the counties within the District are currently in the moderate range except Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy counties, which are in the high range. Several counties within the District have implemented county-wide burn bans. Please contact your specific county government for details.

In addition to the campfire ban, the District urges visitors to be mindful of their surroundings. Sparks from vehicles, cigarettes, equipment, and vehicle exhaust systems while parked on grass can start a wildfire.

Governor Scott declared a state of emergency on April 11 due to recent wildfires and high risk for wildfire development across Florida.

If you see or suspect a wildfire, immediately call 911. For up to date information regarding recreation and public land use, visit www.mysuwanneeriver.com, search “Recreation.”

The mission of the Suwannee River Water Management District is to protect and manage water resources using science-based solutions to support natural systems and the needs of the public. The District holds true to the belief of water for nature, water for people.

Headquartered in Live Oak, Florida, the District serves 15 surrounding north-central Florida counties.

For more information about the District, visit www.mysuwanneeriver.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter, search @SRWMD.