Effective immediately, any outdoor activity that could cause fires in Bay County is prohibited, in accordance with a burn ban signed Thursday by Bay County Commission Chairman Tommy Hamm. The ban will be ratified by the board at the next commission meeting.
The ban prohibits activities such as open burning; the sale or use of fireworks; lawn, debris or trash burning; improper disposal of matches or cigarettes; and any outdoor activity that could cause sparks or flames. The use of charcoal or gas grills for cooking is permitted under the order.
Illegal activities may result in penalties of a fine not to exceed $500 or a jail term of no more than 60 days or both. Each day the violation exists is a separate offense or violation. Further, violators of the burn ban may be subject to civil action for abatement and damages.
“The Florida Forest Service (FFS) has ceased issuing burn authorizations in Bay County, surrounding counties have already issued bans, fire weather conditions support a ban, and resources needed to respond to fires all over the Chipola District are stretched thin,” Hamm said. “This is a step we need to take to hopefully prevent any additional fires in the coming days.”
This order applies throughout Bay County until rescinded, though municipalities may opt out by resolution or ordinance.
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