ALACHUA COUNTY - After reviewing Alachua County's latest wildland fire conditions and our area weather forecast, Chief Will Gray May, Jr., Alachua County Director of Emergency Services, recommended extending the current countywide outdoor burn ban. The extended ban, which originally went into effect by County proclamation at 1:00 p.m. March 26, 2007, will continue until formally terminated by a majority of the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners.
The ban was originally put into place because of a combination of an extended period without precipitation, daily 'red flag' weather conditions (warm, low relative humidity, gusty winds) that contribute to the potential for extreme wildland fire behavior and an abundance of easily ignitable fuel (freeze and frost-killed vegetation left on the ground from the winter months). As the ban moves into its second month, this combination continues to create extreme conditions that are conducive to wildfires. Until a significant improvement in these conditions occurs, the countywide burn ban remains a necessary safety precaution.
The mandatory burn ban affects all of Alachua County, including rural and municipal areas. All outdoor burning activities are illegal under a burn ban with the exception of burns authorized by the Florida Division of Forestry on a case-by-case basis. Authorizations for commercial land clearing pile burns and acreage burns are considered on a case-by-case basis based on weather conditions and location. For information regarding the authorizing of these types of burns, please contact the Florida Division of Forestry (352) 955-2010.
The countywide mandatory burn ban prohibits all of the following:
- All outdoor burning that has not been specifically authorized by the Florida Division of forestry is prohibited.
- The use of any fireworks, sparklers, flares, or other pyrotechnic devices except as provided by law for public displays requiring a permit is prohibited.
*Please note that the ban does not affect agricultural burning authorized by the Florida Division of Forestry for land clearing or prescribed burning purposes.
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. Due to the potential for accidental ignitions, the use of motorized equipment such as ATVs and dirt bikes is not suggested 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 wildfires which scorched 7,100 acres locally.
Any burning 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 ACFR Public Information Officer Megan Crandall at (352) 494-8600.