March 27, 2009
ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - After further review of Alachua County's current wildland fire conditions and the area's weather forecast, Chief Will Gray May Jr., Director of the Alachua County Department of Public Safety, recommended an extension of the countywide burn ban to the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners. The burn ban will remain in effect until formally terminated by a majority of the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners.
The burn ban was placed into effect on Friday, March 13, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. 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). Conditions in Alachua County are extremely dry and the potential for a wildfire is high. This was evidenced by the recent brush fire in the Hawthorne area. The Alachua County Department of Public Safety is asking for the help of all residents in reporting any smoke or fire seen by call 911 immediately.
As a reminder, the burn ban prohibits 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 requested 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.