WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Florida's agriculture chief is raising a warning of wildfire dangers, and is asking for federal help for the state's timber industry.
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Nikki Fried, spoke with more than a dozen members of Florida's congressional delegation Thursday.
She said Florida's timber industry has been devastated by Hurricane Michael and said there are more than 500-million trees on the ground.
She is advocating for a federal assistance package to include help for the state's timber industry.
Fried said, "To rebuild that community. That's an economic impact, and ecosystem impact, and so having those dollars in our state now and making sure timber is included is imperative."
She also said as a result of the downed trees, Florida is at a greater risk of wildfires and says $800 million is needed to clear those trees.
She said, "Debris removal is essential. So right now, with all of the timber on the ground, there's not an opportunity to have fire lines so once a fire starts there's nowhere for our equipment to go into the area."