A local state of emergency and a ban on non-permitted outside burning went in effect for St. Lucie County on Friday and Indian River County on Saturday because of dry conditions, county officials said.
What’s impacted: The ban prohibits outdoor burning of any combustible material, bonfires, campfires, warming fires, outdoor fireplaces, fireworks and cooking fires unless it’s “exclusively within a contained gas or charcoal grill.”
What’s not necessarily impacted: The Florida Forest Service will authorize agricultural burning on a case-by-case basis.
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Why: The Keetch-Byram Drought Index for St. Lucie County is in the 600-range on a scale from zero to 800. Zero represents wet conditions and 800 is a desert-like state. The county last issued a burn ban throughout the county in spring 2017.
The Keetch-Byram Drought Index was 591 for Indian River County and 632 for Martin County on Friday.
Elsewhere: Martin County does not have a state of emergency or burn ban like this in effect, but people are encouraged to refrain from having any kind of open flames outside, including grills, according to Martin County Fire Rescue spokesperson Cory Pippin.
Local government entities, such as county governments and fire rescue agencies, can issue burn bans, according to Miguel Nevarez, spokesperson for the Florida Forest Service. The Forest Service doesn’t approve or authorize burn bans, but they do authorize certain types of burning, such as agricultural burns, throughout the state that are independent of local and county burn bans.
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