Gov. Charlie Crist declared a state of emergency in Florida on Thursday, authorizing a broad array of emergency measures in response to growing wildfire dangers.
State forestry officials count 140 active wildfires statewide, including two near Lake Harney in southern Volusia County. One of those fires, covering 4,500-acres and dubbed the Dragonfly fire, earned a specific mention in Crist’s declaration. Earlier this week, the blaze threatened homes and damaged several structures in the Lake Harney Woods subdivision.
The fires and continuing drought conditions threaten Florida with a major disaster, according to the declaration. The governor’s decision activates the Florida National Guard and assures the assistance of any other state or local agencies as needed.
About a quarter of an inch of rain was recorded Thursday in Daytona Beach. Weather forecasters anticipate the drought will worsen until the summer rainy season begins.
Meanwhile, Charles Bronson, secretary of the department of agriculture and consumer services, toured the wildfires raging in Central Florida by helicopter and visited firefighters.