FLORIDA- Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Florida Forest Service are encouraging Floridians to be cautious with outdoor fire while enjoying time with friends and family this holiday season.

In the fall and winter months, cold fronts move through the state and dry out vegetation. As a result, the underbrush extremely vulnerable to wildfire. Late November saw freezing temperatures reach from the Panhandle down into parts of central Florida. These freezing temperatures dry out the grasses and small brush making them more likely to catch on fire. Relative humidity below 35 percent, lack of rainfall for two weeks or longer and strong dry winds are all components that create extreme fire danger.

"Any fire that starts during these weather conditions could get out of control and spread quickly," said Jim Karels, Florida Forest Service director.