PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A burn ban is now in effect for Bay County.

Any outdoor activity that can cause fires in the county is prohibited. 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, wrote in a press release.

Illigall activities may result in penalties of a $500 fine, jail time of 60 days, or both. Violators of the burn ban may be subject to civil action for abatement and damages.

“The Florida Forest Service has ceased insuring burn authorizations in Bay County, surrounding counties have already issued bans, fore weather conditions support a ban, and resources needed to respond to fires all over the Chipola District are stretched thin. This is the step we need to take to hopefully prevent any additional fires in the coming days”, said Bay County Commission Chairman Tommy Hamm.

The ban was signed by Hamm Thursday afternoon and will be ratified by the board at the next commission meeting. It will remain in effect until the Commission rescinds it.