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Fewer, smaller wildfires reported in Fla. Panhandle

2:35 PM, Apr 15, 2012   |    comments
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) - Florida Panhandle officials say there have been fewer and smaller wildfires to fight as wildfire season approaches its peak.

According to the Florida Forest Service, 79 fires have burned about 1,400 acres through Friday in the Chipola Fire District. That district covers the coast and inland areas from roughly Fort Walton Beach to Port St. Joe.

Last year, 159 wildfires had burned more than 1,800 acres in the same time period last year.

Forestry officials tell The News Herald a sustained drought that troubled firefighters last year is over.

Forestry Service spokesman Brian Goddin says there are no current restrictions on burning yard debris outdoors. That's been a leading cause of wildfires in the past.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)