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Burn alert

Story Submitted by The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

"North Florida is currently experiencing a drought. There's also not much rain expected in the near future. Cold snaps can only worsen the situation. Keep that in mind when you're thinking of lighting any fire. Remember even the fun family bonfire for the holiday get together can get away from you if you're not careful."

Did you know that escaped debris burning is one of the leading causes of wildfires in Florida? It is important to remember to burn safely and legally to prevent the unwanted occurrence of wildfire. Some types of burning require an authorization from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Florida Forest Service while others do not.

A burning authorization from the Florida Forest Service is required for all agricultural, silvicultural, landclearing, large-diameter pile and acreage burning. Authorization is not required to burn yard waste but you must follow the rules for your area. Yard waste includes vegetative debris such as grass clippings, brush, leaves, tree limbs, palm fronds, etc., resulting from regular yard maintenance. To legally burn yard waste, you must adhere to the following requirements:

Contain your fire to an eight foot diameter pile or non-combustible barrel and be at least 25 feet from forests, 25 feet from your house, 50 feet from a paved public road and 150 feet from other occupied buildings

Check with your local city and county officials to find out if there are any additional restrictions in your area.

Only burn yard waste generated on your own property.

Ignite your fire after 9 a.m. and extinguish it one hour before sunset.

Make sure that any smoke generated by your burn is not a hazard or nuisance.

Piles greater than eight (eight) feet in diameter will require an authorization from the Florida Forest Service, must have suppression equipment on hand, and need to meet additional setback requirements.

The Florida Forest Service manages one million acres of public forest land while protecting more than 26 million acres of homes, forestland, and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire. For statewide wildfire updates and additional wildfire information, visit www.floridaforestservice.com. For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.

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