Source:  Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS)

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam and the Florida Forest Service released requirements for open burning, effective November 2, 2018, in the following counties impacted by Hurricane Michael: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Liberty and Washington.

The Florida Forest Service created two geographical zones, primary and secondary, to identify hurricane-impacted areas with specific open burning requirements. Effective immediately through January 7, 2019, burning hurricane vegetative debris in the impact area zones requires an on-site inspection and burn authorization from the Florida Forest Service. Zone parameters are as follows:

Primary Zone

  • Certified pile burning is allowed.
  • Non-certified pile burning is allowed at Disaster Debris Management Sites approved by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection or with an Air Curtain Incinerator.
  • On-site inspections are required for all burn authorizations.
  • Broadcast burning is not allowed.

Secondary Zone

  • Certified pile burning is allowed.
  • Non-certified pile burning is allowed.
  • Broadcast burning is allowed.
  • Fire Supervisor approval is required for all burn authorizations.

We have thoroughly evaluated the wildfire risks in these areas hardest hit by the storm,” said Jim Karels, State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service. “Our plan will effectively reintroduce open burning into these areas with firefighter and public safety as the primary focus.”

Due to the immediate need for certification, the Florida Forest Service is offering two courses:

Certified Pile Burner Course on November 27 or November 28 – Marianna, FL.

Hurricane Michael’s destructive path through the Florida Panhandle resulted in significant damage to homes and property, including nearly 3 million acres of timberland. The volume of timber on the ground has created a serious threat, causing great concern for catastrophic wildfire danger in the short and long term. The Florida Forest Service has transported additional heavy equipment into the area and is working with state and federal agencies to assist with re-establishing fire lines.

To obtain a burn authorization in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Jackson or Washington County, contact (850) 373-1801. To obtain a burn authorization in Franklin, Gadsden or Liberty County, contact (850) 681-5951. Certified burn authorizations may also be obtained by downloading the free FLBurnTools app in Apple App Store or on Google Play.

The Florida Forest Service will continuously evaluate current requirements to determine if restrictions are appropriate. For current wildfire conditions, interactive fire maps and more information on burn authorizations, visit FloridaForestService.com.