After reviewing Gilchrist County’s current wildland fire conditions and the area weather forecast, a mandatory countywide burn ban was implemented, effective 12:00 p.m., May 10th 2017. The burn ban was extended as of Monday, May 15 until the conditions improve.
James Campbell, the Gilchrist County Emergency Operations Chief, said that several factors go into deciding to enact a burn band. Campbell said he considers the drought index, fire index and local factors such as accidental fires. Burn bans are usually set for a seven day peroid but can be extended on any given day.
The mandatory burn ban affects all of Gilchrist County, including all rural and municipal areas.
A burn ban is also in effect for Levy, Dixie, Columbia and Alachua Counties.
The countywide mandatory burn ban prohibits all outdoor burning that has not been specifically authorized by the Florida Division of Forestry.
The ban prohibits the use of any fireworks, sparklers, flares, or other pyrotechnic devices except as provided by law for public displays requiring a permit.
Please note that the ban does not affect agricultural burning authorized by the Florida Division of Forestry for land clearing or prescribed burning purposes.
Although the use of LPG/LNG grills and charcoal grills are permitted, the public is encouraged to keep a constant watch for any stray sparks or embers while cooking outdoors. Additionally, due to the potential for accidental ignitions, the use of motorized equipment such as ATVs and dirt bikes is discouraged during times of high wildfire risk. Please bear in mind that lawn mowers, both push and riding, also pose accidental ignition risks. Citizens are asked to exercise caution during the burn ban. Working together, Gilchrist County’s citizens and local fire departments may avoid accidental ignitions.
Any burning within the County during the imposed ban will be in violation of Gilchrist County ordinance number 94.09 as codified under Chapter 26 of the Gilchrist County Code of Ordinances and Chapter 252 of Florida Statutes. It will be considered a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a 60 day imprisonment and up to a $500.00 fine. All County and municipal law enforcement agencies are authorized to enforce this ordinance. For more information, please contact (386) 935-5400.