BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)– Bay County officials ordered a burn ban on Monday.
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.
However, the use of charcoal or gas grills for cooking is permitted under the order.
News 13 spoke with Bay County Deputy Chief of Emergency Services, Brad Monroe, on why the burn ban is needed.
Monroe said in the past they have encouraged homeowners to make careful burning to get rid of Hurricane Michael debris, but now is not the time for any outdoor burning.
“We want everybody to use safe guards during this time until the weather conditions improve and perhaps get some rain,” Monroe said.
Monroe said overall Bay County citizens have been very careful with burning, so a lot of serious situations have been avoided.
However, even before the current weather conditions it has been harder to fight fires since the hurricane.
“It’s more difficult to distinguish the fire, so by the time forestry gets there with their plows the fire can be a pretty large,” Monroe said.
Officals are hoping that the ban prevents any wildfires from breaking out in the area.
“We know that because of Hurricane Michael we have more fuel on the ground and so these safeguards will help us prevent from having complications such as that occured in Walton County,” Monroe said.
Emergency services, forestry services and the county commission will continue to meet to discuss fire conditions. The burn ban will be revisited every couple of weeks.