Florida Forest Service Provides Safety Tips for Thanksgiving Celebrations

By  //  November 23, 2016

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With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s important to remember safety tips when it comes to turkey fryers. (Keith Betterley image)
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s important to remember safety tips when it comes to turkey fryers. (Keith Betterley image)

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – To ensure the safety of Florida’s residents and visitors while gathering with friends and family this Thanksgiving holiday, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and the Florida Forest Service have issued a fire danger warning for Floridians due to increased wildfire danger levels throughout the state.

Dry conditions have sparked wildfires in many areas of the state recently and have threatened 32 homes within the last month.

“As we join friends and family this Thanksgiving, let’s all take extra care while outdoors, whether frying a turkey or grilling out for a big game,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.

Many areas of Florida are in the midst of an extended drought, with a predicted cold front bringing higher winds and lower humidity. Current wildfire danger levels in Florida range from high to extreme. With little to no rain in the extended forecast, fire danger in Florida will continue rise.

Follow these tips for a safe Thanksgiving holiday:

• Avoid burning yard debris on dry, windy days;
• Never leave a fire or outdoor heat source unattended;
• Set up turkey fryers and grills at least 10 feet away from the home and away from overhanging branches and natural areas;
• Clear an area around the heat source free of leaves, branches and other flammable debris or materials;
• Have an appropriate fire suppression tool on hand (for turkey fryers, keep a multipurpose, dry powder fire extinguisher ready in the event that the oil ignites);
• Keep children and pets away from fryers and grills; and
• Never dump used charcoal briquettes into dry grass or debris and, instead, douse coals with water and dispose of them in a metal container or bare mineral soil.

The Florida Forest Service asks that residents refrain from burning any yard debris at this time and encourage residents to clear dry debris from their roofs and yards to eliminate the link that could carry a wildfire from the woods to their home. Residents should check with local county or city officials for information regarding yard waste pick-up and disposal.

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“We encourage citizens to take a proactive role in their wildfire safety,” said Jim Karels, Florida State Forester. “By taking a few simple preventative steps, Floridians and visitors can enjoy a safe Thanksgiving holiday.”

There are approximately 66 active wildfires currently burning throughout Florida. Since January, the Florida Forest Service and its partners have responded to 2,752 wildfires that burned 71,577 acres.

Visit the Florida Forest Service’s wildfire information webpage to view an interactive map of current active wildfires, drought and fire danger forecast information, and a list of current county burn bans.