Gov. Rick Scott declares state of emergency following increase in wildfires


Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency across the state following the recent outbreak of wildfires.

On April 11, Scott issued Executive Order 17-120, which declared a state of emergency because of the wildfires and the potential risk for more brought on by Florida's severe dry conditions in the coming months.

Over the last few weeks, drier conditions have caused wildfires that have already burned 250 percent more acreage in the first three months of the year than during the same time period last year, according to state officials.

There are currently 107 active wildfires burning in Florida, ranging across 20,000 acres.

"Much of Central and South Florida are approaching drought-like conditions and the chances for wildfires are continuing to increase with hotter temperatures and low rainfall," Scott said in a statement. "This may only get worse as we enter the hotter summer months and it is crucial that we take every action right now to be prepared."

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says that he hasn't seen a wildfire season this active since 2011.

"From St. George Island in the Panhandle to a wildfire just north of one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions in Orlando, we’re seeing that every area of our state is susceptible to wildfire," he says.

The executive order will expire 60 days from today unless Scott extends it.

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