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Troopers Keep An Eye On Alligator Alley Amid Wildfire Concerns

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Alligator Alley (I-75)is now open but there's a chance it could close down again over wildfire concerns.

Smoke from the brush fire burning nearby, in the Everglades, forced Florida Highway Patrol to shutdown about 55 miles of the surrounding area Monday afternoon. By 9 p.m., they were able to reopen the area.

Meantime, FHP is watching the fire closely just in case they need to close it down again.

It's just one of the 84 active wildfires burning in Florida right now, according to the Florida Forest Service.

Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam, who called this the 'worst wildfire season in years,' announced Tuesday more than 2,300 wildfires have burned over 233,000 acres in the state so far this year. This as May is considered one of the driest months of the year in certain parts of the state.

"As we enter what is traditionally Florida's rainy season, much of the state is still experiencing drought conditions and elevated wildfire danger," Commissioner Putnam said.

Wildfire Forecast
Forecast wildfire danger for May 30, 2017. (Courtesy: Florida Department of Agriculture)

Back in April, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a State of Emergency over concerns the state would not be able to get all the resources needed to combat wildfires.

Officials are asking residents take precautions to hinder the spread of any fires.

"Residents and visitors need to pay attention to and comply with local burn bans and should take every precaution to help prevent wildfires," said Putnam.

To prevent the spread of a wildfire and damage to your home, try to create a 30 feet 'defensible space' around the home. To do this:

  • Start with allowing 3 feet around the home to be free of tall, fire-prone plants.
  • Opt for low growing, fire resistant plans and use mulches like rocks or chunky bark.
  • Space out the plants so that none are placed right under a window or vents leading into the home.

Click here for more fire preparedness tips or click here to a see a map of the current wildfires burning in Florida.

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