Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Yard Waste Burning Banned

LABELLE, FL. -- Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson today announced that, due to the severe wildfire threat, he has instructed the Division of Forestry to stop the burning of all yard waste by homeowners. Bronson wants to reduce the potential for additional wildfires until weather conditions improve.

Bronson said that he is taking the action as a result of a significant increase in the number and severity of wildfires. It follows a May 3 Executive Order by Governor Charlie Crist declaring a state of emergency due to the ongoing drought and danger of wildfires.

Unless prohibited by the local city or county, homeowners living in single- or two-family dwellings are normally allowed to burn yard waste (grass clippings, brush, leaves, tree limbs, palm fronds, etc.) on the premises in a non-combustible container, or pile less than 8 feet in diameter, without any specific authorization from Bronson's Division of Forestry. It is that activity that is being temporarily halted.

Yard waste can be used as mulch, left for curb-side pickup if that is available, or simply piled for burning when weather conditions improve. In Florida, the Division of Forestry regulates all outdoor burning, including burning of agriculture crop residue, silviculture burning and pile burning. Authorizations for those activities already have been drastically curtailed due to the dry conditions.

In a typical year, Florida has about 5,000 wildfires that burn approximately 200,000 acres. Since January 1 of this year, 1,875 wildfires have burned 166,247 acres. For more information on Florida's outdoor burning laws, homeowners should contact the local office of the Division of Forestry or the local fire department.

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