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Emergency Burn Ban In Effect For Orange County
UPDATE: Orange County Government lifted this enacted burn ban on March 23, 2018.
Orange County, Fla. – A burn ban, which prohibits the ignition and burning of open fires, is now active in Orange County. Under Orange County’s Fire Prevention and Protection ordinance, burn bans automatically activate county-wide when the Keetch-Buram Drought Index (KBDI), the reference scale created by the State of Florida which measures drought conditions, meets or exceeds 500. On March 19, the drought index reached 500 KBDI.
Despite welcome rainfall in parts of Orange County during the last 24-hours, the burn ban now remains in effect until the drought index dips below 500 KBDI for seven consecutive days, per county ordinance. Additional rain in the forecast could help alleviate the ongoing severe dry conditions.
In an effort to assist the community with questions about what is prohibited while the burn ban is active, Orange County Government has established two new webpages dedicated specifically to wildfire prevention and Orange County’s burn ban ordinance.
This burn ban is applicable within the unincorporated and incorporated territory of Orange County; however, municipalities within Orange County may provide notice of exclusion in writing to the Orange County Fire Marshal’s Office. Outdoor burning authorized by the Florida Forest Service is not affected by this ban, nor is the use of outdoor grills and barbeques for cooking as defined in Section 18-4, in the Orange County Code. Properly permitted commercial and professional firework displays are also exempt.
In 2018, Orange County amended its Fire Prevention and Protection ordinance so that burn bans automatically activate once the KBDI meets, or exceeds, 500. The ordinance amendment replaced the need for the Mayor to issue a local declaration of emergency and better aligns Orange County with neighboring communities. Under the amended ordinance, once the KBDI falls below 500 for seven consecutive days, Orange County’s burn ban is automatically deactivated.
Orange County Fire Rescue has already responded to several wildfires this month and 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 Ready, Set, Go! 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