Florida is dry. Downright crispy. And these conditions make it easy for fires to spark and spread. Have you noticed smoke in your neighborhood lately? I’ve seen it for weeks here in Ocala – first from the big fires in the Okeefenokee Swamp, and now drifting in from fires more local to us.
Before you make plans to go out on a hike, take a look at this nifty real-time resource that the State of Florida provides. It’s called GATOR, an acronym that was backed into, no doubt: Geospatial Assessment Tool for Operations and Response. I was using it to track the oil spill last summer. Now, the state’s a-blazin’, according to the icons that list fire incidents. These may be live fires, or recently past, but you can use the interactive map to zoom in and see if there’s a fire anywhere near the public lands you’re planning to play in this weekend.