Tuesday Florida began a “wildfire awareness week” with a “Ringing of the Bell” ceremony honoring the memory of state firefighters who died in the line of duty.
State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam thanked the families of the 184 firefighters, paramedics and investigators whose names are etched in granite on the Florida Fire Service memorial in the Capitol Courtyard.
“(They) are here memorialized forever for all of us to learn from their example,” said Putnam while standing next to the memorial. “People will pause here and see there are still in this state men and women who everyday place the service to others above their own safety.”
Moments after the ceremony, Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order that declared a state of emergency across Florida due to wildfires.
“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.
The declaration makes it easier for agencies to share resources.
Since the start of the year, the Florida Forest Services has recorded just over 1,440 wildfires consuming nearly 70,000 acres. That’s double the number of acres burned at this point a year ago.
Source: Tallahassee Democrat