PANAMA CITY, FL. (WMBB) — October is traditionally the third driest month in the Florida Panhandle and this weekend that will cause fire issues across Northwest Florida.
Panama City averages just 3.1 inches of rain for the month and with the lack of rainfall, Low humidity, and high winds expected for tomorrow the National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch and a Fire Weather Warning for Northwest Florida from 11 AM to 7 PM Saturday. With fire danger expected this weekend Bay County Firefighter Alan Ford gives some tips on how to avoid fires.
“The basic ways of avoiding starting a wildfire is attending the fire that you have at your house, keeping it within the set burn limits, which is an eight-foot by eight-foot pile. Also, just staying with the fire, and having a water source nearby. If you don’t have a water source nearby, or anything to extinguish that fire, then the best practice is not to start one at all,” said Ford.
Some other helpful tips are to make sure your fire is at least 25 feet away from your home, and 150 feet away from other homes. Also, it is important to realize your trash is not considered debris. Burning your trash is illegal. Chipola Forestry Mitigation Specialist Aleece Maples says to stay aware.
“Education and prevention are key in helping reduce the human-caused wildfires. Being aware of what the weather is doing and knowing the setbacks is very important to reducing the number of violent fires,” says Maples.
With dry and windy conditions, Chipola Forestry Operations Administrator Michael Klassen says, no burn permits will be issued.
“As far as our permitting and everything, we will not be issuing permits for broadcast or pile burns for Saturday and Sunday most likely. And then, you know, as far as people burning, that’s kind of up to the county to decide as far as bans and things like that,” said Klassen.
There is currently no burn ban in effect, but experts say you should avoid burning this weekend.
To report a wildfire call State Forestry officials at 850-373-1801.