MILTON — It’s been 10 days since the last appreciable rainfall hit much of Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties. Officials with the Florida’s Forest Service’s Blackwater Forestry Center are keeping a wary eye on the weather and the potential for significant wildfires.

While Florida has a year-round wildfire season, it peaks every year between late March and early June, and there is a history of large fires in this area surrounding Memorial Day.

On May 25, 2013, a wildfire broke out near Giese Lane in west Pensacola. The 200-acre fire took nine tractor/plow units, multiple aircraft and dozens of fire department apparatus to stop. The fire threatened multiple homes, forced evacuations and closed Dog Track Road, Blue Angel Parkway, U.S. Highway 98 and multiple other secondary roads on a busy holiday weekend.

A similar weather pattern of dry, hot air has established itself in recent weeks and is forecast to continue with no significant chance for rainfall in the forecast.

Despite no significant increases in fires recently, Blackwater officials are urging residents not to burn until rainfall.

“It’s a three-day weekend and people want to get some work done in the yard. We understand,” said BFC Operations Administrator David Smith just before the Memorial Day weekend. “It’s hot, it’s dry and there is a very real potential for big wildfires right now so we’re just asking them to hold off.”

If residents do choose to burn yard debris, any pile larger than 8 feet in diameter must be authorized by the Florida Forest Service. Call 850-957-5701 to obtain authorization.

Piles less than 8 feet in diameter do not require an authorization but must be 25 feet from the resident’s home, 25 feet from the woods or other combustible structures, 50 feet from a paved public road and 150 feet from a neighboring home. Visit for more information on wildfires.