Fire Scorches 300 Acres of Florida Forest

About 300 acres within the Apalachicola National Forest and 5 acres of privately owned land burned in a fire started by an unattended burn barrel, said Mike Dueitt, a fire management officer for the forest.

No one was injured, and no homes were destroyed.

The U.S. Forest Service responded to the fire between State Road 267 and State Road 20 about 10:30 a.m., Dueitt said. The fire may have started late Thursday evening and burned through the night.

The fire was contained at 2 p.m. Friday with the help of the Tallahassee Fire Department, the Florida Division of Forestry and the Lake Talquin Volunteer Fire Department, Dueitt said.

Lt. Steve Helm of the Tallahassee Fire Department said it was a prime day for a fire because the relative humidity was low and the wind was brisk. Friday's high was in the low 60s.

The National Weather Service reports show that temperatures are only slightly above normal for the year. The normal temperature for February is 54.5 F. This month's average has been 54.7 F.

However, precipitation has been sparse since October, said Joel Lanier, a senior service hydrologist for the National Weather Service.

Tallahassee has gotten 1.6 inches of rain this month, compared to the 4.63 inches it usually gets in February, according to National Weather Service reports.

"Things have dried up the last month or so," Lanier said.

Lanier predicts precipitation will be near normal for the rest of the spring.

Because of these conditions, there is a concern about future fires throughout the state.

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