Hillsborough County, Fla. (April 27, 2017) – The Emergency Policy Group today approved an executive order banning open burning in Hillsborough County until at least May 4.
Warm temperatures and dry conditions have combined to increase the danger of wildfires in our area.
Under the executive order:
• A local state of emergency is declared.
• All outdoor open burning is prohibited. The only exception is burning that has been specifically allowed in writing by the Florida Forest Service.
• Any authorized outdoor burning shall be conducted in strict compliance with state statutes, agency rules, or any other written conditions imposed by the agency or department. Any person conducting outdoor burning authorized by a state agency shall provide a copy of the written authorization to the Emergency Dispatch Center no less than 24 hours prior to conducting the burn.
• The order bans fireworks and sparklers.
• Outdoor grilling is allowed, as long as the flames are contained within a grill or other fireproof container, and the fire is constantly attended and extinguished fully.
By law, the order can be made for no more than seven days. If conditions persist, the order can be extended.
• Remove fuels that can lead flames to your home or that can be ignited by windblown embers.
• Clear away dead grass, leaves, twigs, and branches from structures, roofs, rain gutters, decks, and walkways.
• Store firewood at least 30 feet from occupied structures.
• Plant landscaping that retains moisture and resists ignition, such as native, fire-resistant vegetation.
• Help emergency responders find your home faster by making sure that street numbers are easy to read.
• Install metal screening that blocks embers from entering structures.
• Know where the closest firefighting water source is to your home or building.
• Dispose of cigarette butts properly.
• Pick up light-refracting metal items, such as soda cans, that can spark a fire.
• Don’t park vehicles over high grass that could come into contact with hot engines and other components.
Although no large wildfires have yet occurred in Hillsborough County, it’s important to stay in the know. Residents and visitors should register for HCFL Alert, Hillsborough County’s official public notification system for emergency and urgent alerts. To receive messages by email, phone, and text, go to HCFLGov.net/HCFLAlert.
For more information and valuable links, go to HCFLGov.net/StaySafe.