MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — At least 126,000 acres have burned in wildfires across Florida since January, surpassing the five-year average of acreage burned in a typical year, officials said.

Florida’s fire season peaks this month, during the driest part of the year in the state, and experts warn that the fire risk may worsen in the coming weeks.

“It’s fairly likely we’re going to get drier before there is relief from this,” said state climatologist David Zierden, at Florida State University’s Florida Climate Center.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has described this year as the most active fire season since 2011. As of Thursday, 97 active fires burned statewide, with 28 active wildfires larger than 100 acres, according to a Florida Today report ( ).

Smoke from some fires has forced Florida Highway Patrol troopers to close major highways for hours at a time. Health officials have recommended that people with asthma or chronic lung or heart conditions should stay indoors with windows closed to avoid smoke from blazes near them.

Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency because of active wildfires across the state. He also directed the Florida National Guard to put a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter on standby for potential firefighting missions in Tampa. The aircraft would support the Florida Forest Service and collect and dispense large quantities of water onto fires without having to land.

Source: Orlando Sentinel

Unusual dry air over the region of Florida where it is normally humid tells the tale of the swirling air masses caused by the Earth Wobble.