Orange County Implements Burn Ban | April 1, 2020
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 countywide when the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI), the reference scale created by the State of Florida which measures drought conditions, meets or exceeds 500. On March 31, 2020 the drought index reached 500 on KBDI scale.
The burn ban now remains in effect until the drought index dips below 500 KBDI for seven consecutive days, per county ordinance.
In an effort to assist the community with questions about what is prohibited while the burn ban is active, Orange County Government has two webpages dedicated specifically to wildfire prevention and Orange County’s burn ban ordinance.
This burn ban applies to the unincorporated and incorporated territories of Orange County to include the cities of Belle Isle and Edgewood, and towns of Eatonville and Oakland, for which Orange County provides contracted fire services. 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 are 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 fireworks 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.
Citizens can also take the following actions to protect their families and homes from fire danger by:
- Creating 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 roofs 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 wild lands
- Monitor local media for updates on road closures, smoke conditions and other hazards
- Use extreme caution when grilling, camping and discarding smoking materials
- Call 911 if you see smoke or fire in your area
- Download the OCFL Alert app and signup for OC Alert
- Visit OCFL.net/burnban to review some of the frequently asked questions
- Do not use fireworks