BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — With severe drought in place and increasing winds ahead of Tropical Storm Nicole, wildfire potential across the Florida Panhandle is being exacerbated.

The Florida Forestry Service has suspended burn permits until Tropical Storm Nicole passes.

 “We’re always thinking about growth potential and that wind coming in and is definitely something that, you know, we’re worried about,” said Michael Klassen, an administrator at the Florida Forestry Service, “We’re at the point where our fine fuel moistures are so low that it’s very, very easy for something to get started and to grow into a large wildfire rather quickly.”

Both forestry and weather authorities warn that fire danger could remain an issue through the end of the year.

“We’re in a La Nina right now, and what a La Nina does when we’re in the wintertime here across the Southeast is bringing warmer than normal temperatures and below normal precipitation,” said Meteorologist Kelly Godsey of the National Weather Service.

“So, you know, when we look at that against the backdrop of we’re already in a severe drought, you know, our expectations are the conditions will gradually worsen as we go into the winter months,” said Godsey.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association updates the drought conditions every Thursday.

If you have questions about wildfire dangers and what that means for your property the Florida Forestry Service invites you to visit BeWildfireReadyFL.com

Their hotline is 1-800-435-7352