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Posted May 18, 2017 | 8:00 AM

Hillsborough Extends Emergency Ban on Open Burning

Hillsborough County, Fla. (May 17, 2017) - Members of the Emergency Policy Group today extended an executive order banning open burning in Hillsborough County until at least May 25.

Warm temperatures and dry conditions have combined to increase the danger of wildfires in our area. The ban has been in place since April 27.

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 by the Florida Forest Service.
  • Any authorized outdoor burning approved by the Florida Forest Service shall be conducted in strict compliance with state statutes, agency rules, or any other written conditions. Any person conducting outdoor burning authorized by the Florida Forest Service shall provide a copy of the authorization to the Emergency Dispatch Center no less than 24 hours prior to conducting the burn, along with a call the day of the burning.
  • 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 at a time. If conditions persist, the order can be extended.

Wildfire Prevention and Safety Tips

  • Dispose of cigarette butts properly. Never throw a cigarette butt from a car window.
  • Don't drive or park vehicles over high grass that could come into contact with catalytic converters, engines, and other hot components.
  • Pick up light-refracting metal items, such as soda cans, that can spark a fire.
  • 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.
  • 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, safety tips, and valuable links, go to HCFLGov.net/StaySafe.

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