Carrie Proudfit, Orange County Public Safety Public Information Officer
ORANGE COUNTY DECLARES STATE OF LOCAL EMERGENCY
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs Issues Countywide Burn Ban to Help Prevent Fires
ORLANDO, Fla. – April 13, 2017 – Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, in her capacity as Director of Emergency Management, which includes unincorporated and incorporated areas of Orange County, issued today a local state of emergency to protect citizens, visitors and properties from extreme fire conditions.
“As Mayor, my top priority is the health, safety and welfare of our citizens,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. “It is urgent that we receive full cooperation with Orange County’s just announced burn ban. As a region, we are deeply aware of the threats posed by the weather, and our extremely dry conditions. Through the issuance of Executive Order 17-01, which includes the formal burn ban declaration, I am authorizing the full use of Orange County’s public safety resources to implement and maintain this ban.”
During the State of Local Emergency, all outdoor burning is banned within the unincorporated and incorporated territory of Orange County, unless a written permit is first obtained. Officials are asking citizens to cooperate and comply with all necessary emergency measures.
The order follows a period without extensive rain, which has resulted in a severe drought and extremely unsafe fire conditions. The conditions constitute a clear and imminent threat to the lives and property of the people of Orange County.
The current dry conditions create a situation that allows wildfires to start easily and spread quickly. Dry vegetation and ground cover ignite readily from discarded cigarettes, campfires, lightning and other sources. Once started, wildfires will grow rapidly and spread quickly due to high winds and dry conditions. Shifting wind conditions can cause wildfires to change paths without notice.
“Orange County Fire Rescue recognizes the extreme danger of current conditions and stands ready to rapidly respond to wildfires,” said Orange County Fire Chief Otto Drozd III. “The department has deployed additional firefighters on brush and woods trucks, which are off-road vehicles capable of responding to wildland fires. Contingency plans are in place to staff additional units as weather conditions dictate.”
Firefighters are on alert for unauthorized open burning and other conditions that present a risk to public safety. Orange County Fire Rescue will work cooperatively with its partners at the Florida Forest Service and law enforcement to reduce fire dangers and ensure compliance
Orange County Fire Rescue has responded to numerous wildfires this month, with firefighters reporting aggressive, fast-moving fires as a result of current conditions. The department reminds citizens to take the following actions to protect their families and homes from fire danger:
- Create a 30-foot area of “defensible” – clean and green – space around your home
- Clear trash and dead vegetation from your front and backyards
- Remove leaves and debris from roof and gutters
- Have a plan and an emergency kit packed in case an evacuation is ordered, especially if your home directly abuts wildlands
- Monitor local media for updates on road closures, smoke conditions and other hazards
- Use extreme caution when grilling, camping and discarding cigarettes
- Call 911 if you see smoke or fire in your area
- Download the OCFL Alert app and OC Alert.
About Orange County Fire Rescue
Orange County Fire Rescue is the largest fire and rescue department in Central Florida. It serves approximately 1,000,000 citizens and visitors and responds to more than 119,000 calls for service annually. The mission of the Orange County Fire and Rescue Department is to provide fire suppression, emergency medical and community risk reduction services to ensure our community can enjoy a high quality life and property protection delivered with compassion and integrity. Follow us on Twitter at @OCFireRescue.