Water-Related News

Polk Fire Rescue issues burn ban

BARTOW — Due to lack of rain, Polk County has experienced dry weather conditions for an extensive period of time, therefore Polk County Fire Rescue has issued a burn ban.

The increase in risk of brush fires and uncontrolled fires are a threat to the public health, safety and general welfare of Polk County. There are also no signs of abatement of these dangerous fire conditions anytime soon.

The burn ban includes, but is not limited to:

  • Campfires
  • Bonfires
  • Unpermitted controlled burns
  • Burning of yard and household trash
  • Burning of construction debris
  • Burning of organic debris
  • Igniting of fireworks

Noncommercial burning of material other than for religious or ceremonial purposes which is not contained in a barbecue grill or barbecue pit and the total fuel area does not exceed 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height.

“We have held off as long as we possibly can on issuing this burn ban,” said Fire Chief Rob Weech. “But conditions are favorable for the rapid development and spread of brush fires and we need to take every step necessary to ensure the safety of everyone. We also don’t want anyone to lose property or investments due to fire.”

Currently the average on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) for Polk County is at 508 with a minimum of 420 and a maximum of 597. The KBDI index is used as an indicator to determine the likelihood and severity of brush fires. While high KBDI values are an indication that conditions are favorable for the occurrence and spread of wildfires, drought is not by itself a prerequisite for such fires. Other weather factors, such as wind, temperature, relative humidity and atmospheric stability, play a major role in determining the actual fire danger.

The burn ban applies to all unincorporated Polk and all municipalities except Lake Wales.

Anyone who refuses to comply or violates this burn ban shall be in violation of County Ordinance 08-015 and can be punished by a fine not to exceed $500 or by imprisonment by a term not to exceed 60 days in the county jail or both.