ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - After reviewing Alachua County's current wildland fire conditions and the area weather forecast, Chief Will Gray May, Jr., Director of the Alachua County Department of Public Safety, recommended a mandatory Countywide burn ban to the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners. The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners subsequently instituted by County proclamation a mandatory Countywide burn ban, effective at 12:00 p.m. on December 30, 2008, until formally terminated by a majority of the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners.
Due to the combination of an extended period without substantial precipitation, daily weather conditions contributing to the potential for extreme wildland fire behavior (very low Relative Humidity, increased and gusting winds), and an abundance of easily ignitable fuel (abundant freeze and frost-killed vegetation), Alachua County is imposing a countywide ban on all non-agricultural outdoor fire activity.
The mandatory burn ban affects all of Alachua County, including rural and municipal areas. The Florida Division of Forestry will also be withholding burn permits on a case-by-case basis, as issued under their jurisdiction within the County.
The Countywide mandatory burn ban prohibits all of the following:
All outdoor burning which has not been specifically permitted by the Florida Division of forestry is prohibited. Please note that the ban does not affect agricultural burning permitted by the Florida Division of Forestry for land clearing or prescribed burning purposes.
The use of any fireworks, sparklers, flares, or other pyrotechnic devices except as provided by law for public displays requiring a permit is prohibited.
Although the use of LPG/LNG grills and charcoal grills is permitted, the public is encouraged to keep a constant watch for any stray sparks or embers while cooking outdoors. Additionally, due to the potential for accidental ignitions, the use of motorized equipment such as ATVs and dirt bikes in areas in grass, brush and woodlands is not recommended during times of high wildfire risk. Please bear in mind that lawnmowers, both push and riding, also pose accidental ignition risks.
Citizens are asked to exercise extreme caution during the burn ban. Working together, Alachua County's citizens and local fire suppression agencies may avoid a repeat of the 1998 and 2000 wildfires which scorched 7,100 and 4,100 acres locally.
Any burning without a permit within the County will be in violation of Alachua County ordinance 86-1, section 10.08 and 10.09 and section 252.50 of Florida Statutes. It will be considered a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a 60-day imprisonment and up to a $500.00 fine. All County and municipal law enforcement agencies are authorized to enforce the ordinance.
For more information, please contact the Alachua County Department of Public Safety at 352-384-3101.