Polk County issues burn ban due to increased risk of brush fires

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla (WFLA) — Polk County Fire Rescue has issued a burn ban ahead of the Memorial Day weekend due to the recent dry weather conditions causing an increase in risk of brush fires and uncontrolled fires.

The recent dry weather conditions play a major factor in creating dangerous fire conditions. According to the Florida Forest Service, the entire Bay area is listed as “very high” for fire danger. Earlier this month, crews in Hillsborough County were able to successfully contain a 125-acre fire in Lithia but had to keep a close eye on the area due to conditions.

The Polk County burn ban includes, but is not limited to:

  • Campfires
  • Bonfires
  • Unpermitted controlled burns
  • Burning of yard and household trash
  • Burning of construction debris
  • Burning of organic debris
  • Igniting of fireworks
  • Noncommercial burning of material other than for religious or ceremonial purposes which is not contained in a barbecue grill or barbecue pit and the total fuel area does not exceed 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height.

“We have held off as long as we possibly can on issuing this burn ban,” Polk County Fire Chief Rob Weech said. “But conditions are favorable for the rapid development and spread of brush fires and we need to take every step necessary to ensure the safety of everyone. We also don’t want anyone to lose property or investments due to fire.”

The burn ban applies to all of unincorporated Polk and all municipalities except Lake Wales.

Anyone who refuses to comply or violates this burn ban will be in violation of County Ordinance 08-015 and can be punished by a fine not to exceed $500 or by imprisonment by a term not to exceed 60 days in the county jail or both.

As of Monday, the Tampa National Weather Service site had not recorded any measurable rainfall since May 6, putting Tampa 2 to 3 inches below the normal rainfall amounts we have typically accumulated by this time of the year.

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