Environment

St. Johns County Announces June Energy Efficiency Education Series Dates

St. Johns County continues its series of FREE Energy Efficiency workshops in June to teach commercial contractors and homeowners how to build more efficiently and save money.

First Coast Firefighters Prepared for Another Season Like '98

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- There are 75 fires burning in our area right now. So are we gearing up for a summer like 1998? Experts say it's near impossible to tell.

"It's not really a good place to speculate what we could or couldn't see in reference to what we experienced in '98," said Jeremy Robshaw with St. Johns County Fire and Rescue.

The Division of Forestry estimates the fires of 1998 caused more than $620 million in damage in Florida. Back then, 132,000 acres were burned in Northeast Florida and about 200 homes were destroyed. The fires raged throughout the state for two months.

Fire departments across Northeast Florida added staff and created emergency response plans in the wake of the '98 fires. They also brought on specialized tractors that hold more water to get into the more rural areas. And in addition to the equipment, the firefighters themselves are more prepared.

FWC Wraps Up 2-day Meeting in St. Augustine

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wrapped up its two-day meeting Thursday in St. Augustine, in which it accepted staff recommendations on state-threatened species; discussed marine fisheries issues of concern to anglers, commercial fishermen and specimen collectors; approved hunting issues for deer and alligators; and dealt with other wildlife-related issues.

St. Johns County Extends Burn Ban for 90 Days

St. Johns County Extends Burn Ban for 90 Days

St. Johns County has extended its burn ban for the next 90 days due to weather conditions including lack of substantial rainfall, high temperatures, worsening drought and significant wind. The ban also prohibits the discharge of any fireworks.

20 Fires Still Burning in St. Johns County; Crews Call in Help

20 Fires Still Burning in St. Johns County; Crews Call in Help

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. --  Twenty fires were still burning in St. Johns County today as local officials called in reinforcements from other parts of the state.

Some are smaller, less than an acre, while the largest fire in the area right now is in Flagler; the Espinosa fire is 1,500 acres and is 18 percent contained.

The goal today is to put out some of the smaller fires in St. Johns that crews haven't been able to tend to.

According to the state Department of Forestry, local crews are now getting help from the National Park Service and other DOF teams statewide. Locally, they also need more equipment.

Most firefighters are working 12- to 14-hour shifts.

Museum Researchers Discover Oldest Spanish Mission Church in St. Augustine

Archaeologists welcome media to the site where they discovered a more than 300-year-old church Friday from the first Franciscan mission in Florida.

Angry Gator Fights Back Against Deputies | RAW VIDEO

Angry Gator Fights Back Against Deputies | RAW VIDEO

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- There was an unwelcome intruder at the Conquistador Condominiums this morning, and the deputies who got to the scene first did their best to get it under control until a professional trapper could arrive.

Fortunately for the deputies, the alligator sitting by the road was just in a bad mood, not a hungry one.

They got close to putting a towel over the gator's head, but the gator was having none of it, and hissed loudly enough for them to decide to wait for the licensed trapper to get to the scene.

SLIDESHOW: ANGRY GATOR

The trapper arrived around 3 a.m. and easily got the gator under control.