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News Story
Updated: 05/18/2017 08:30:03AM

Dry weather, water shortage dampen fighting wildfires

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COURTESY PHOTO/FLORIDA FOREST SERVICE

Smoke billows from a 4,000-acre wildfire just inside Glades County, southeast of Bairs Den. The fire, which started Saturday as a 120-acre wildfire, grew because of high winds and may have contributed to smoky conditions in Highlands County. Meanwhile, wildland firefighters combat a lack of water from drought in addition to dry conditions.

COURTESY PHOTO/FLORIDA FOREST SERVICE

Smoke billows from a 4,000-acre wildfire just inside Glades County, southeast of Bairs Den. The fire, which started Saturday as a 120-acre wildfire, grew because of high winds and may have contributed to smoky conditions in Highlands County. Meanwhile, wildland firefighters combat a lack of water from drought in addition to dry conditions.

COURTESY PHOTO/FLORIDA FOREST SERVICE

Smoke billows from a 4,000-acre wildfire just inside Glades County, as seen from a Florida Forest Service vehicle. The fire started Saturday as a 120-acre wildfire, grew with high winds and may have contributed to smoky conditions in Highlands County. This season wildland firefighters are combating a lack of water from drought in addition to extreme dry conditions.

COURTESY GRAPHIC/FLORIDA FOREST SERVICE

A map from Florida Forest Service shows approximately where a 120 acre wildfire stasrted Saturday and billowed with dry conditions and strong breezes. Wildland fires in the south end of Highlands County have given firefighters the dual challenge of dry conditions and dwindling water resources.

COURTESY GRAPHIC/NATIONAL DROUGHT MONITOR
Drought conditions have worsened across the southeast United States, especially in Central Florida. Now, all of Highlands County and Osceola County — essentially the Kissimmee River basin — are under extreme drought.

COURTESY GRAPHIC/NATIONAL DROUGHT MONITOR

COURTESY GRAPHIC/NATIONAL DROUGHT MONITOR
Drought conditions have worsened across Florida, especially in Central Florida. Now, all of Highlands County and Osceola County — essentially the Kissimmee River basin — are under extreme drought.

KIM LEATHERMAN/ CORRESPONDENT


Florida Forest Service officials were fighting a wildfire Tuesday afternoon on Daffodil Street and Lake Crews in Lake Placid.

By PHIL ATTINGER

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SEBRING — Fighting fires in rural Central Florida requires trucks, bulldozers and personnel, but most importantly, water. That’s in short supply these days.

Last month, the South Florida Water Management District issued a water shortage warning to 8.1 million residents in 16 counties, including Highlands County. Dry conditions will continue through this month, making wildfires throughout the southern range of Highlands County all the more likely, and more severe.

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