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Burn ban authorized in Collier County due to dry conditions

Collier County’s Board of County Commissioners has authorized a burn ban in the county effective this week due to dry conditions.

The decision for the ban came after consultation between the Collier County Bureau of Emergency Services, Florida Forest Service, Collier County Fire Chiefs’ Association, Collier County Sheriff’s Office, and the National Weather Service jointly identified a need for a burning ban to become effective immediately after certain environmental conditions were met, including dry conditions.

Burn bans have also been announced in the past week in Sarasota and Hendry counties due to the same dry conditions.

Local dependent and independent Fire Districts and State and Federal Agencies have responded to numerous wildfire events that have frequently threatened homes, schools, businesses, parks, and roadways. Wildfires have on occasion generated periodic evacuations and impacted commerce and travel by forcing roads to be closed for suppression or smoke management concerns.

County ordinance allows the County Manager to recommend an immediate ban of outdoor burning and outdoor ignition sources during extreme drought conditions. The ban prohibits open burning, which is any outdoor fire or open combustion of material that produces visible emissions, of trash and yard waste, which includes vegetative matter resulting from landscaping and yard maintenance operations.

The ban includes all unincorporated Collier County but exempts all commercial agricultural burning, lawful controlled industrial or commercial environments that are part of the manufacturing or some type of assembly process, and burning activities regulated by the Florida Forest Service.

This ban presently has no impact on the retail sales of fireworks, although the discharge of fireworks, sparklers, and incendiary devices is prohibited.

In addition, outdoor grills, stoves, cookers, and smokers may be used in the preparation of food if the cooking fire is controlled and attended to. All outdoor cooking areas shall be free of burnable materials within an area having a circumference of three feet beyond the nearest edge of the cooking fire.

Violation of the order, if it is found to cause irreparable or irreversible damage, can be up to $15,000.

The ban will remain in effect until further notice.

For more information, call 311 or (239) 252-8999.

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WGCU is your trusted source for news and information in Southwest Florida. We are a nonprofit public service, and your support is more critical than ever. Keep public media strong and donate now. Thank you.