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Florida Forest Service director reflects on lessons learned from Arizona wildfire deaths

Florida Forest Service Director Jim Karels discusses the investigation he led into the deaths of 19 firefighters last summer in Arizona as Florida heads into what could be a tough 2014 wildfire season. Photo by Bruce Ritchie.

Florida Forest Service director Jim Karels is likely the only agency head in Tallahassee who regularly carries an axe in his vehicle.

The yellow-handled axe-shovel combination fire tool leaned against the wall next to his door in his office on Monday at the conclusion of an interview. Karels said he has used it in the past when he arrives on a wildfire scene.

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