Florida Forest Service warns of wildlife dangers

Concerned about dry and windy conditions, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Forest Service on Wednesday warned about wildfire dangers in the state.

A news release pointed, in part, to possible gusty conditions in the Panhandle and the Big Bend region and said parts of Central Florida and all of South Florida will be under a “fire weather watch” on Thursday afternoon.

“Fire danger has increased throughout the state due to windy conditions and critically low relative humidity over the coming days,” said the news release issued by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which includes the forest service.

It also said the forest service has battled nearly 1,100 wildfires since January, with 97 percent caused by people.

“Due to the elevated fire threat, I am urging the public to avoid yard debris burning,” State Forester Erin Albury, the director of the forest service, said in a prepared statement. “We are in the peak of our year-round fire activity, and these weather conditions will only add to the existing fire danger.”

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.