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News Story
Updated: 05/19/2017 08:30:01AM

Highlands declared disaster due to drought

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Severe drought conditions are having big impacts on areas across the state, including the Everglades.

MAP PROVIDED BY PATIRCK MAHONEY, Florida Forest Service
THe main area of the Raintree Fire is outlined in red and is 2,734 acres. The spot fire, 327 acres, is shown in blue, for a total of 3,061 acres. As of Wednesday noon, the fire is 70 percent contained. The large black rectangle is the reservoir for the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply off Kings Highway.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY PATRICK MAHONEY, Florida Forest Service
The Raintree Fire burned land on both sides of Interstate 75, requiring all lanes to be closed for several hours on Saturday and Sunday due to low visibility caused by smoke. As of Wednersday, the fire is 70 percent contained.

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Despite a front that brought minimal amounts of rain over the weekend, the Sunshine State’s record-setting dry season continues to rage on.

In response to a request from Debbie Folsom, Farm Service Agency’s acting State Executive Director in Florida, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated eight counties in Florida as primary natural disaster areas due to losses and damages caused by a recent drought. Those counties are: Highlands, Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Okeechobee, Osceola and Polk.

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