When most people think of wildfires, there are many places that might come to mind but Florida usually isn’t one of them. Since the first of the year, Florida has had over 2,660 wildfires. Florida’s drought conditions coupled with low humidity and high winds have made ideal conditions for wildfires.
The director with the Division of Forestry in Florida has issued several warnings and urged residents to follow county burn bans. Visitors to the states parks are also encouraged to check any burn bans that may be in affect before starting a cookout or campfire.
So far, Florida has lost almost 129 thousand acres across the state to wildfires; this is all ready more than twice the amount of fires the Division of Forestry responded to at this time last year. According to the test that measures the amount of moisture in the top three feet of soil; Florida is on the far end of the scale toward desert-like.
The Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) goes from zero to eight-hundred. Zero would be flooding conditions with eight-hundred being desert conditions. Right now, Florida’s KBDI has an average statewide reading of almost five hundred seventy.
In extreme conditions one small spark can set off a massive fire that can grow and spread rapidly. Wildfires can cause extensive damage and loss; from forests and wildlife to homes, businesses and human life. The price can rise into the billions of dollars (in insured losses).
Actual claims for wildfires are quite low at 2.2 percent compared to 20 and 26 percent on claims for tornadoes and floods and other natural disasters; but the price of a payout for a wildfire can be just as much as any other natural disaster, if not more.