WASHINGTON, D.C. -- State officials report Florida's wildfire situation has diminished somewhat due to improved weather conditions. The past week brought much needed rainfall to large portions of the Florida peninsula - enough to bring some areas up to their normal monthly rainfall amount.
Currently there are 69 fires active in 12 of the State's 15 Forestry Districts. All but one of these fires is listed as contained, but not yet controlled. To date, there have been 3,262 reported fires since the beginning of the year, which have burned approximately 254,000 acres throughout the state.
Despite the recent rainfall, many reporting stations across the state show rain deficits ranging from two to seven and one-half inches for the year. The National Weather Service is projecting that the remainder of May should bring normal to near normal rainfall.
The Keetch-Byram drought index remains dangerously high, 600 to 700 out of a possible 800, for the counties of Bradford, Citrus, Clay, Dade, Duval, Hernando, Nassau, Pasco, Pinellas, Putnam, Sarasota and St. Johns. Approximately 50 percent of the remaining counties have a drought index of 400 to 500.
To date, wildfires have destroyed 64 homes and 85 others have been damaged in Alachua, Glades, Indian River, Marion, St. Lucie, Osceola and Walton counties. Nearly all of the damaged homes are insured.