Hurricane debris could fuel bad wildfire season

- If you think last wildfire season was bad -- and it was -- brace yourself for this one. Experts say it looks like it could be even worse.

You can blame Mother Nature’s one-two punch. Hurricane Irma took down tons of trees when she barreled through the state a few months ago.

“A lot of the cleanup has been in the residential areas,“ Florida Forest Service spokesman Todd Chlanda told FOX 13.

“Damage in the forest has not been gotten to and cleaned up,” he continued. “That debris is just laying out there drying up, just waiting for a spark.”

Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam is requesting that lawmakers come up with close to $20-million to get ready for what’s being predicted to be the worst wildfire season in more than a decade. Putnam wants to give frontline fire fighters a $10,000 raise, in his words, “to make sure we can recruit and retain at these positions where experience matters most.”

The rest of the money, about $11.4 million, would go to buy new equipment and repair the old.

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