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Florida Forest Service Command Posts are the Nerve Centers for Fighting Wildfires

Florida Forest Service has been busy with other fire departments in SWFL putting fires out

At the end of March, there were nearly 40 wildfires around Florida. Nearly 33- thousand acres. How big is that? Imagine fires burning an area the size of the city of Fort Myers.

The Florida Forest Service has to protect more than a million acres. Its has the job of creating command posts with other agencies to put out wildfires.

Center Manager for Florida Forest Service, Michael Weston, says that when assessing a fire they set up command centers to go over information from the field and where decisions are made to put fires out, “The key part of setting up a command post is you want to make sure the command post is in a location where the fire is not going to impact it.”

These command centers can be set up in parking lots, intersections and even a wooded field. These command posts can be set up anywhere.

They’re where the fires are. Working with other fire departments the Florida Forest Service come up with strategies and on the best ways to get the fires under control, “We’re actually able to in real time status check where they at on a fire and be able to track its progress. Also with our fixed wings they can report you know how large the fire is” says Michael Weston.

With that real-time information the Florida Forest Service and other fire departments can target the fire and make decisions like to evacuate those in danger. The command center also controls the efforts on the ground and above with a variety of equipment, “We have the full gambit from our main stay is a bulldozer that we call tracker because it’s pulling a fire plow and that’s what makes most of our fire line it’s going to cut off that fuel. It’s going to make that dirt path that’s the fire line. You know, but we have everything from brush trucks, swamp buggies”, Michael Weston.

But all of the command centers and the planes and bulldozers do nothing without the firefighters who run them. Since the fires first started weeks ago, hundreds of firefighters have been on the front lines. To keep up-to-date with current fire condition you can follow the fire departments in your area and follow the Florida Forest Service of Caloosahatchee on twitter @FFS_cafc . You can also visit the Florida Forest Service website where they have interactive maps and helpful tips regarding wildfires in Florida.