ATLANTA, Ga. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved $262,500 as part of a $350,000 Florida wildland fire mitigation project.
The Florida Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry, will pick up the remainder of the cost.
This is the first of two phases of the overall project and will include planning and preparation. The Division of Forestry will conduct prescribed fire education and public service announcements, which will include materials on the benefits of prescribed fire versus the destructive potential of wild fires.
John Copenhaver, director of FEMA's region IV, said, "We appear to be in an unfortunate cycle of drought and wildfires in the southeast, and Florida has been particularly hard hit with the destruction of hundreds of thousands of acres of wildland in each of the past two years. We hope that proper planning and education on prescribed burning will break that cycle."
Florida Division of Emergency Management Director, Joseph F. Myers, said, "Florida still has vast wildlands. And as evidenced by this spring's fires in the Everglades and elsewhere around the state, out-of-control wildfires can take a huge toll on wildlife and disrupt transportation. We're trying to do something to reduce these risks."
Hazard mitigation, of which this project is a part, is a FEMA program specifically designed to lessen the impact of future natural disasters, such as wildfires, on lives and property. Since 1993, Florida has received more than $49 million in hazard mitigation funds to ease the impact of natural disasters.