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Marion County renews voluntary burn ban

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The voluntary burn ban in Marion County will continue as windy and dry weather conditions increase risks of wildfire.

Since the ban is voluntary, there aren’t any fines currently in place.

“If people do burn debris in their backyard, they’re not going to get in trouble for it right now,” said Jessica Greene, Marion County Fire Rescue spokeswoman.

Greene said the voluntary burn ban was implemented by the Marion County Multi-Agency Wildland Task Force, a group comprised of local, state and federal organizations.

She said the ban allows residents to burn debris in their yards because a mandatory ban was decided against, but it is highly encouraged to not do so.

The task force includes Marion County Fire Rescue, Ocala Fire Rescue, Florida Forest Service, Marion County Parks and Recreation Department and Florida Water Management districts.

Greene said the group decides if a burn ban should be implemented at the end of every meeting.

“A lot of consideration goes into whether or not they do implement a burn ban,” she said.

Residents choosing to burn debris are still required to follow the county’s burning regulations. Burn piles, for instance, must be smaller than 8 feet in diameter and done on bare soil. Greene also said burn piles should be at least 25 feet from any building structure, brush or forest.

“Fire officials are highly encouraging people not to burn right now because the conditions are extremely dry, and over the past few days they’ve also been very windy,” she said.

Greene said the task force encourages residents to take their yard debris to recycling centers in the county instead of burning them until rain relieves the current dry conditions.

More information about fire safety can be found at floridaforestservice.com.

Sarah Brand edited this story online.

About Ethan Magoc

Ethan is a journalist at WUFT News. He's a Pennsylvania native who found a home reporting Florida's stories. Reach him by emailing emagoc@wuft.org or calling 352-294-1525.

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