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Palm Coast Thursday, Apr. 27, 2017 2 years ago

Flagler County prepares to enact countywide burn ban, declare state of local emergency

Violating the ban would be a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine and 60 days in jail.

Flagler County officials will be asked to enact a burn ban throughout the county and declare a state of local emergency at the Monday, May 1 County Commission meeting, according to a county government news release.

“We are proposing to initiate the ban as an abundance of caution due to the amount of fires occurring around the state,” Flagler County Fire Rescue Chief Don Petito said in the news release. “Since January, there have been 1,775 fires around the state burning approximately 146,172 acres in the state of Florida.”

The burn ban prohibits the following:

  • The sale, use and discharge of fireworks
  • Open burning, including the use of fire pits and containers
  • Throwing matches or cigarettes (or other burning materials) from car windows
  • Parking vehicles with catalytic converters in high grassy areas
  • The use of charcoal-burning barbecue grills (propane grills are still permitted)

Anyone who violates the executive order, or willfully fails or refuses to comply, can be punished by law under Florida Statutes Section 252.50. Violating the ban would be a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 and 60 days in jail.

Two very large fires are currently active in the state. There is the “Cow Bell Fire” in South Florida's Big Cypress National Preserve that is 21,620 acres and the “West Mims Fire” in North Florida that is currently 36,050 acres.

“The fire activity being reported around the state is aggressive fire behavior and the rapid spread rate is alarming,” Petito said. “The Florida Forest Service has suspended issuing any type of burn permits statewide.”

Twenty-two counties have already issued burn bans in Florida. No significant rainfall is forecast for Flagler County within the next 10 days.

The ban will remain in effect until further notice.

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