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Famed designer/author Hutton Wilkinson visits Boca Raton

Posted on 04 March 2019 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

Famed interior designer, jewelry designer and author Hutton Wilkinson left California to pay a visit to South Florida. First, on Jan. 31, he went to the newly opened Jay Feder Jewelers (at 6859 SW 18 St. in Boca Raton) (www.jayfeder.com/bocaraton), where a party was held as he launched his Tony Duquette Jewelry Collection in style. The following day, he went to the Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum to present his newest book, “Tony Duquette Dawnridge.”

Guests were delighted to hear stories about how his once-partner designer Tony Duquette got his start and about his famous home. The home was built in 1949 by Tony and his wife Elizabeth. It was a simple structure — 30 x 30. But the home he created would become the go-to place for many of the Hollywood set, including Fred Astaire, Marion Davies, Loretta Young, Arthur Freed and Mary Pickford, among others. Tony had some luxurious parties in his home, complete with everything from Indian dancers to Chinese acrobats, bringing an exotic flair. When not living in the home, they rented it out to famous tenants like Marlon Brando and Eva Gabor. They soon bought the home next to Dawnridge, which they also rented out, but it burnt down in 1974. When the home was torn down, they used the land to create beautiful garden terraces. The expansion of Dawnridge would continue. The home — its interior and exterior — looked like a faraway land, like Japan, Austria or South Asia rather than Beverly Hills and it was used for many fashion shoots as well. The couple also bought other properties.

Hutton worked with Tony and, after Tony and his wife’s passing, he and his wife Ruth decided to purchase the home and to remodel it. Today, Hutton maintains the home and continues to run the jewelry company that he had with Tony.

People can now purchase his “Dawnridge” book, with its 256 pages and 300 color illustrations, and see the transformation of the home through the years and read more about its history.

For more information on the book, visit https://tonyduquette.com/tony-duquettes-dawnridge.

For more information on the Boca Raton Historical Society, visit www.bocahistory.org.

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Pompano swim team takes 11th in Senior Swim champs

Posted on 27 April 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The Pompano Beach Piranhas recently took 11th overall in the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships at the Academic Village Swimming Pool.

Pompano Beach coach Jesse Vassallo brought 19 swimmers to the three-day meet and scored 449.50 points overall. The men’s team tallied 344.50 to finish 10th in that division, while the women scored 105 points, which was good enough for 17th overall.

We hoped to do that,” said Vassallo, who cited a Top-12 finish at the meet. The host South Florida Aquatic Club (SOFLO) won the combined team title with 2,748 points. The team also captured the men’s title.

We are a small team compared to the rest,” Vassallo said. “It adds up to the relays, a point here and a point there. There are three seasons in a year and we came to this meet not rested. We didn’t stop training. We kept training and we came in tired, but we did better that I expected. I had a kid (Tyler Zuyus) win high point without being shaved.”

Zuyus, 16, a junior at Ft. Lauderdale High School, is expecting to be the top swimmer at his school. He is also a Ft. Lauderdale resident.

Meets like this help me prepare for bigger meets,” said Zuyus. “This is a marking point for where I want to be and where I am at so I know how to train for it. Sometimes we go into it not shaved or tapered and this was one of those times.”

He was pleased with winning the high point award.

It is really an accomplishment for me to do this,” Zuyus said. “I wasn’t expecting to win the high point. It shows that I am able to do well under all of the pressure. Going back-to-back with all of those races … it is a confidence booster. My high school season was great and it was the first time I place individually. Unfortunately, our relays didn’t do so well. It’s okay. We will get them next year!”

Zuyus was runner-up for the high point award at the Winter Championships. He said he is now looking forward to swimming the summer season.

I am going to sleep,” said Zuyus, who swam nine total events individually and five relays. “I haven’t slept in a couple days. I was really happy with my 200 back because I dropped two seconds and every other race was close to my personal best time.”

The team’s performance also came off a solid effort at the Junior Olympic competition a couple of weeks earlier.

At the JOs,” Vassallo said, “we were a very small group. We only brought eight swimmers. Rafael Santos won three events, and Lilia Blanco also swam really well. She is only nine, but she came in third three times and scored in every event she swam in the 10-Under competition.”

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McKenna wins 10 medals at Transplant Games

Posted on 07 July 2016 by LeslieM

SPORTS070716By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach’s Jackson McKenna got a head start on this summer’s Olympics.

McKenna, 15, who will be a sophomore at Pompano Beach High School in the fall, cleaned up at the recent Transplant Games in Cleveland, Ohio by winning 10 medals for Team Florida.

He also earned the Youth Athlete of the Year award for the entire country for participants ages 3 to 17. Australia and Puerto Rico also had representation at the competition in addition to athletes from around the country.

I didn’t expect it whatsoever,” said McKenna, who as an infant needed a life-saving liver transplant. “It was very surprising to say the least. I was shocked at first. I thought it was a joke. It was really a lot of work and I was grateful they selected me.”

McKenna captured gold medals in four events – 100-meter dash, long jump, high jump and darts (cricket) and five silver medals in softball throw, discus, 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash and darts (501). He picked up a bronze medal in the shot put – all in the 14 to 17 age group.

The efforts in shot and discus were surprising given the fact that he had never competed in either event and watched YouTube videos to learn the technique. He had also never competed in darts.

At 5 months old, he was diagnosed with biliary (tract) ectasia and needed a life-saving liver transplant. McKenna received his liver on Feb. 17, 2001, has been healthy ever since, and, every two years, he competes in the Transplant Games of America.

The Transplant Games of America include track and field events, swimming, table tennis, cycling, long jump, table tennis and the softball throw.

The 10 medals this year easily surpassed his previous record high of six that he earned in Michigan four years ago and the five he won in Texas two years ago. Yet, McKenna said winning is not the driving force.

I just tried my best to see what I could do,” said Jackson, who has turned from sports to a new interest – playing the guitar. “I just wanted to win one medal. I had no idea I would do this well. The last few years have been pretty great. It is really fun. It is great to see the old friends you met from all around the world and then to meet new people.”

He took up the guitar two years ago and is in a music program in Boca Raton. He hopes to be a marine biologist or a guitar player when he gets older.

When you are competing, you are trying to prove whatever it is,” McKenna said. “Through guitar you can let out your emotions. How you feel is how you are going to play.”

The Transplant Games showcase the success of transplantation and calls attention to the life saving importance of organ donation, and honors organ donors and their families.

Health-wise he’s been doing great the past couple of years,” said his mother Jina McKenna. “We weren’t sure how he would do this year because he didn’t really put in as much time training for this as he had done in the past, but he really brought it when it came time for the Games. Winning the Youth Athlete of the Year was really special. It was really cool. We were shocked and surprised. We were happy and really honored.”

He won it because of the medals, but also his participation with Team Florida and his fundraising,” she added. “It also went to his helping create awareness and his longevity in the Games since he has been competing since before he was 2.”

McKenna was the youngest participant in his first Transplant Games in Orlando in 2002 at 18 months as he competed in the softball throw.

This experience has just shown me that you also go as hard as you can and you always try,” McKenna said. “Even if you think you can’t do something, you always try.”

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2012 Pompano Boat Parade

Posted on 20 December 2012 by LeslieM

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Irene becomes first hurricane, still generally headed to South Florida

Posted on 22 August 2011 by LeslieM

IRENE HAS BECOME MUCH BETTER ORGANIZED DURING THE PAST 6 HOURS DESPITE ITS INTERACTION WITH THE MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN OF PUERTO
RICO...AND A RAGGED EYE HAS BECOME APPARENT IN IMAGERY FROM THE FAA TERMINAL DOPPLER WEATHER RADAR. ALSO...LARGE PATCHES OF DOPPLER
VELOCITY VALUES AS HIGH AS 75-82 KT AT 1000-1500 FT AND 85-91 KT AT 2000-3000 FT HAVE BEEN INDICATED NORTHWEST AND NORTHEAST OF THE
CENTER OVER WATER FOR THE PAST 2 HOURS...WHICH EQUATES TO AT LEAST 65-KT SURFACE WINDS. SOME DOPPLER VELOCITIES AS HIGH AS 72 KT HAVE
ALSO BEEN DETECTED AT 500-600 FT OVER WATER. AS A RESULT OF THESE DATA...IRENE HAS BEEN UPGRADED TO THE FIRST HURRICANE OF THE 2011
ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON.

Visit our Hurricane Center!

TRENDING THROUGH ALL OF THE WOBBLES IN THE TRACK OVER THE PAST 6 HOURS YIELDS AN AVERAGE MOTION OF ABOUT 290/10 KT. UPPER-AIR DATA
AT 00Z INDICATE 500 MB HEIGHTS HAVE NOT CHANGED AT BERMUDA IN THE PAST 24 HOURS...WHICH SUGGESTS THAT THE SUBTROPICAL RIDGE TO THE
NORTH OF IRENE REMAINS QUITE STRONG. THE RIDGE IS EXPECTED TO CHANGE LITTLE FOR THE NEXT 48 HOURS OR SO...WHICH WOULD ACT TO KEEP
IRENE MOVING IN A GENERAL WEST-NORTHWESTWARD DIRECTION OFF THE NORTH COAST OF PUERTO RICO THIS MORNING AND JUST SKIRTING THE
NORTHERN COAST OF HISPANIOLA LATER TODAY AND ON TUESDAY. AFTER THAT...THE GLOBAL MODELS DIVERGE ON THE SPECIFICS OF HOW LARGE A
BREAK OR WEAKNESS IN THE SUBTROPICAL RIDGE DEVELOPS OVER FLORIDA AND THE SOUTHEASTERN U.S. AT 72 HOUR AND BEYOND...WHICH WILL ALLOW
IRENE TO MOVE NORTHWESTWARD. THE ECMWF...NOGAPS...AND GFDN MODELS ARE THE RIGHTMOST OF THE NHC MODEL GUIDANCE SUITE AND KEEP IRENE
WELL EAST OF FLORIDA...WHEREAS THE UKMET AND THE GFDL MODELS ARE THE LEFTMOST OF THE MODELS AND TAKE IRENE NEAR THE WEST COAST OF
FLORIDA. THE GFS AND THE REST OF THE NHC MODEL GUIDANCE IS TIGHTLY PACKED BETWEEN THESE TWO EXTREMES AND TAKE IRENE THROUGH THE
BAHAMAS AND JUST OFF THE FLORIDA EAST COAST. WHAT IS NOTEWORTHY IS THAT ALL OF THE GLOBAL AND REGIONAL MODELS AGREE THAT THE OUTFLOW
OF IRENE WILL CONVERGE WITH WESTERLY TO NORTHWESTERLY UPPER-LEVEL MID-LATITUDE FLOW OVER THE MID-ATLANTIC STATES BY 96 HOURS AND
BEYOND. THIS UPPER-LEVEL MASS CONFLUENCE COULD MAINTAIN THE MID- TO LOW-LEVEL RIDGE A LITTLE BIT STRONGER AND LONGER THAN WHAT NOGAPS
AND THE ECMWF ARE FORECASTING...WHICH WOULD IN TURN KEEP IRENE A LITTLE CLOSER TO THE FLORIDA EAST COAST. AS A RESULT...THE OFFICIAL
FORECAST TRACK WAS ONLY SHIFTED SLIGHTLY TO THE EAST OF THE PREVIOUS TRACK AND IS NEAR THE CONSENSUS MODELS TVCN AND TVCA.

IT NOW APPEARS THAT IRENE WILL NOT INTERACT WITH HISPANIOLA AS MUCH OR AS LONG AS PREVIOUSLY EXPECTED. THIS WILL ALSO RESULT IN MORE
STRENGTHENING THAN PREVIOUSLY EXPECTED. IRENE IS FORECAST BY ALL OF THE MODELS TO HAVE A VERY IMPRESSIVE OUTFLOW PATTERN THROUGHOUT THE
FORECAST PERIOD...INCLUDING A LARGE UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH/LOW ABOUT 1200 NMI EAST OF THE CYCLONE ACTING AS A MASS SINK. WITH IRENE ALSO
EXPECTED TO BE OVER SSTS NEAR 30C AFTER 48 HOURS...SIGNIFICANT STRENGTHENING COULD OCCUR. HOWEVER...THE OFFICIAL INTENSITY WILL
REMAIN ON THE CONSERVATIVE SIDE DUE TO THE UNCERTAINTY IN HOW MUCH IRENE WILL INTERACT WITH THE MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN OF HISPANIOLA FOR
THE NEXT 24-36 HOURS. THE OFFICIAL INTENSITY FORECAST IS A BLEND OF THE SHIPS/LGEM MODELS AND THE HWRF/GFDL MODELS. HOWEVER...GIVEN THE
IMPRESSIVE UPPER-LEVEL FLOW PATTERN EXPECTED ACROSS IRENE...IT WOULD NOT SURPRISE ME IF THIS CYCLONE BECAME A MAJOR HURRICANE AT SOME TIME DURING ITS LIFETIME LIKE THE GFDL AND HWRF MODELS ARE FORECASTING. 
IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO FOCUS ON THE EXACT FORECAST TRACK... ESPECIALLY AT DAYS 4 TO 5...SINCE THE MOST RECENT 5-YEAR AVERAGE
ERRORS AT THOSE FORECAST TIMES ARE 200 AND 250 MILES...RESPECTIVELY.

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Public hearing on Florida redistricting plans; opportunity to submit maps

Posted on 27 July 2011 by LeslieM

The 2011 redistricting effort will provide for extensive public participation, including public workshops, public hearings, and a process for members of the public to submit maps for Commission consideration.

Public Workshops

A series of workshops will be held at various locations around the County to inform the public about the process and requirements for completing the new County Commission district map. Five workshops have been scheduled:

September 12, 2011 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
African American Research Library & Cultural Center
Library Auditorium
2650 Sistrunk Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311

September 19, 2011 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
North Regional Library
Library Auditorium, Room 154
1100 Coconut Creek Boulevard
Coconut Creek, FL 33066

September 26, 2011 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Tree Tops Park
Oak Auditorium
3900 S.W. 100 Avenue
Davie, FL 33328

September 29, 2011 from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Government Center West
Hearing Room
1 University Drive
Plantation, FL 33324

October 3, 2011 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
West Lake Park – Anne Kolb Nature Center
Mangrove Hall
751 Sheridan Street
Hollywood, FL 33019

Public Hearings

The County Commission will hold two public hearings, in October and early November of 2011.

Public Submissions of Maps

The State of Florida is developing Web-based software, called “MyDistrictBuilder,” which the public can access for free to draw Federal congressional and State legislative maps that they want to submit for consideration. This software is expected to be fully operational in July 2011, and can also be used to draw custom maps for Broward County Commission districts.

Once the software is available, staff from Broward County Planning and Redevelopment Division will be available to help train members of the public on the use of the software and the process for submitting maps.

Paper maps will also be available, with voter precincts and current Commission district boundaries noted, for members of the public interested in drawing maps by hand.

Planning and Redevelopment Division staff will review all maps submitted by members of the public to ensure consistency with the Broward County Charter and Fair Districting Standards, and submit maps meeting those standards to the County Commission for consideration.

All maps submitted for consideration by the County Commission will be posted to this Web site.

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Rep. Clarke-Reed hosting town hall July 20 in Pompano

Posted on 11 July 2011 by LeslieM

State Representative Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed invites you to attend The Legislative Update Town Hall Meeting. Topics include: Florida Election Laws/Voter Registration, Medicaid Reform, Workforce One, Unemployment Compensation, Redistricting Process.Clarke-Reed represents residents in these cities: Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Tamarac, North Lauderdale and Wilton Manors.

Join her  Wednesday, July 20, 2011 from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm, at the E. Pat Larkins Community Center, 520 Martin Luther King Blvd. (Hammondville Road)
Pompano Beach, Florida 33060. For information please call her office, 954-786-4848 or the community center at 954-786-4585.

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Over 100,000 pils surrendered in Florida today

Posted on 06 July 2011 by LeslieM

Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi announced today that more than 105,000 pills were surrendered at 24 locations during a statewide compliance operation conducted by the Department of Health, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and five of Florida’s Regional Drug Enforcement Strike Forces.  The inspections were conducted pursuant to the Department of Health’s declaration of public health emergency made on July 1.

“Earlier this year, I made a promise to crack down on pill mills and stomp this scourge out of our state. The results we’re seeing this week show we’re making good on that promise,” said Governor Rick Scott. “I thank the law enforcement and public health professionals who are making our multi-faceted approach a success and a model for the nation. By shutting down pill mills, we are saving lives and making our communities safer places to live.”

“One of the most effective ways to stop prescription drug abuse is to cut it off at the source,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “It was gratifying to accompany the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the South Florida Strike Force and see them quarantine prescription narcotics and prevent the easy access that had long exacerbated this epidemic.”

The number of pills surrendered or returned to the distributor in each region is as follows:

  • Miami Regional Operation Center:                       48,406.5 pills
  • Orlando Regional Operation Center:                   52,322 pills
  • Tampa Bay Regional Operation Center:             4,698 pills
  • Fort Myers Regional Operation Center:               153 pills
  • Pensacola Regional Operation Center:              None

In March 2011, Governor Scott announced a Statewide Drug Strike Force, headed by FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey, to combat the criminal distribution of prescription drugs in Florida. With support from Attorney General Pam Bondi and state and local law enforcement leaders, the Strike Force is charged with stopping the flow of dangerous drugs into communities by disrupting the major illegal supply points.

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Scott Joins U.S. Chamber’s Bipartisan Governors Summit on Job Creation

Posted on 20 June 2011 by LeslieM

From the Governor’s Press Office

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Governor Rick Scott joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Chamber Foundation (NCF) today for a bipartisan summit of governors, state chamber executives, and leading business people to discuss policies—including those in Florida—that make states attractive for businesses to locate, relocate, and expand in this uncertain economy. The leaders also discussed the unintended consequences of specific state budget cuts and the investments the public and private sectors can make now to improve the economy in the future.

“When it comes to job growth, the state level is where the rubber meets the road,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber. “Companies, capital, and jobs go where they are welcome. States must focus on expanding the economy by embracing free enterprise principals which will help businesses grow, prosper, and hire.”

Governor Scott discussed specific examples of how his administration has pressed for investments in several programs and initiatives focused on job creation and enhancing Florida’s economic competitiveness. For example, Governor Scott last week signed into law Senate Bill 2156 that allows a more unified approach and rapid response to job creation by consolidating the state’s economic development functions into the Department of Economic Opportunity.

Under Governor Scott’s leadership, Florida is the only state that has reduced taxes while balancing the state budget, despite a $3.6 billion deficit. The budget Governor Scott signed last month cut taxes for half of all Florida businesses and also eliminates unnecessary government projects through $615 million in vetoes.

The release of the 2011 Enterprising States study comes right on the heels of Florida’s unemployment numbers released last week, which show Florida leading the nation in job creation for the month of May. According to the newest unemployment numbers, Florida’s unemployment rate has declined each month since January, when Governor Scott took office, despite the national unemployment rate going up.

“Since January, Florida has created 76,800 new jobs. I am confident that our efforts to make this the most business friendly state are paying off and we will continue to see jobs go up and unemployment go down,” said Governor Rick Scott. “As the 2011 Enterprising States study points out, Florida is one of the leading states for creating jobs and making tough choices that will ultimately get our nation back to work.”

Governor Scott’s agenda is focused heavily on creating jobs, reducing state spending, making government more efficient, and lowering taxes. The centerpiece of his economic agenda, has been the Governor’s 7-7-7 Plan, a seven step plan that aims to create 700,000 jobs over the next seven years. The plan is focused on job growth that will accelerate the number of new business start-ups, increase wages and salaries, and shore up the productivity and vitality of Florida’s economy to provide new state revenues as a direct result of increased economic growth.

Governor Scott was joined by Governors John Hickenlooper from Colorado, Bob McDonnell from Virginia, Jack Markell from Delaware, Terry Branstad from Iowa, and Scott Walker from Wisconsin at the summit, which also marked the release of the second Enterprising States study. The study, prepared by The Praxis Group, highlights state-driven initiatives, including those in Florida, to redesign government, including dealing with excessive debt levels that inhibit economic growth and job creation, and implementing forward looking, enterprise-friendly initiatives with a primary goal of creating the conditions for job creation and future prosperity.

The study found that most states have already taken actions to streamline and downsize government to meet the new economic realities, and this has proven to be challenging given the increased demand for state services during the national recession. To recoup lost revenue, states have taken such actions as eliminating tax exemptions, broadening the tax base, and in some cases increasing rates as well as raising fees. Low tax rates by themselves are not a silver bullet for growth, but it has become clear that outdated state tax systems can undercut economic vitality. Any state with a budget tilting towards insolvency is in a weak position to make and maintain investments in its workforce and economic infrastructure.

“It’s tough to create an environment for job creation and the governors we heard from today are on the frontlines of our economic challenges,” said Margaret Spellings, president of the Chamber’s U.S. Forum for Policy Innovation. “We learned about the tools they are using to restore the stability and confidence that fuels our free enterprise system, and these are the lessons that we must apply if we’re going to continue to work on changing our stubborn economic trends. Our study, Enterprising States, is a snapshot of these effective policies and programs that every state can benefit from as a best practices road map towards economic recovery.”

The Enterprising States study is available at: http://www.uschamber.com/reports/enterprising-states-2011

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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Wildfire Danger High in Florida this Memorial Day Weekend

Posted on 27 May 2011 by LeslieM

Jim Karels, Director of the Florida Division of Forestry at the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, issued a warning today about the wildfire danger leading in to Memorial Day weekend.  The danger of wildfire is very high throughout Florida due to lack of rain, low humidity and windy conditions.

The entire state of Florida is suffering from drought conditions and everyone should use extreme caution with any type of fire this weekend,” said Karels. “Under these current conditions, and without the proper resources, fires can get out of control quickly and may cause damage to property, homes and even lives.”

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) which measures the amount of moisture in the top three feet of soil reveals an average statewide reading of 569 on a scale of 0 to 800, with 0 equivalent to flood-like conditions and 800 to desert-like conditions.

Burn bans are in place in several counties including Baker, Citrus, Flagler, Glades, Hendry, Marion (voluntary), Martin, Nassau, Osceola, Palm Beach (East), Putnam, Seminole, St. Lucie, and Volusia. The Division of Forestry encourages residents to contact local government officials for up to date information on burn bans.

Individuals and families planning to visit forests or parks over the holiday weekend are advised to call ahead to learn whether or not campfires and charcoal grills are permitted. These activities may be restricted in certain areas until the fire danger decreases.

The Division of Forestry also released fire safety tips for Floridians to keep in mind this Memorial Day:

  • Never leave a fire unattended
  • Dispose of charcoal briquettes properly
  • Use dedicated campfire rings where possible
  • Clear vegetation to bare soil within 10 feet of your campfire
  • Make sure a fire is dead out before leaving unattended
  • Be very careful when operating equipment such as lawn mowers, tractors, chainsaws, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) as any spark can start a wildfire under the current conditions
  • Avoid parking cars among tall grass that can easily be ignited from a hot catalytic converter

Since January 1st, of this year, 2,664 wildfires have burned 128,675 acres throughout Florida. This figure represents nearly twice as many fires as the Division of Forestry responded to during the same period last year.

To report a wildfire, please call 9-1-1 or the local Division of Forestry office.

For more information on burn bans, current wildfires or fire prevention measures, please visit http://www.fl-dof.com/wildfire/information.html or contact the local Division of Forestry office.

For more information about the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com or follow Commissioner Putnam on Facebook, www.facebook.com/adamputnam, or Twitter, @adamputnam.

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