The Florida Forest Service this week is alerting Alachua County residents of the very high fire danger due to extended dry weather conditions.
The counties around Alachua remain at a moderate level of fire danger.
Although there is no official yard burn ban, the service’s Waccasassa Forestry Center is asking residents and visitors to use extreme caution when using outdoor ignition sources and refrain from unnecessary burning of yard debris.
According to Rick Dolan, the manager of the Waccasassa Forestry Center, the main reason our area is experiencing this very high risk level is because of how susceptible our local environment is to fire in relation to the extended dry weather.
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is a habitat for many native and migrating animals, a serene escape for Gainesville residents or visitors and a home to large amounts of trees and brush. There are many other factors that contribute to the possibility of fire danger such as wind gust or human action, but ultimately the mix of dry weather and a viable burn area is a recipe for fire.
Typically, the Florida Forest Service issues permits to residents who wish to burn any authorized material over eight feet in their yard; however, because of our current dry weather conditions, the organization is not issuing these permits at this time. Any authorized material under eight feet is still permitted for yard burning but is strongly advised against.
It is the county’s responsibility to alert their residents of any presiding fire ban, but local forestry centers are also informed and will be able to provide further information about a specific county.
The Alachua County Board of County Commission had issued an emergency burn ban order on March 23, 2020 and then later agreed to lift this ban on April 21, 2020. There has been no burn ban in effect since this emergency order. Extreme caution is still advised to avert the risk of fire danger in outside settings.