Manatee County urges public to heed local burn ban as dry conditions persist
MANATEE COUNTY – Fireworks, sparklers, flares, campfires and open burning are all temporarily prohibited as part of a local burn ban that continues into April as dry conditions persist.
Residential fire pits are allowed, as long as they're being monitored by an adult until the fire is extinguished. Local fire chiefs are now asking the public to take the burn ban seriously until steady rains return to Manatee County.
"Manatee County’s drought index, a scale of 0 – 800, is now over 600 which is in the moderate drought range," said East Manatee Fire Rescue Chief Lee Whitehurst. He is also chairman of the Manatee County Fire Chiefs Association. "Since the burn ban went into effect two weeks ago, there has been a decline in brush fires, so it is working."
"When the Fire Department is preoccupied with responding to illegal outside fires, it becomes very difficult to respond to serious medical calls," added Myakka City Fire Control District Chief Danny Cacchiotti. "Before you illegally burn, think about how it affects your neighbor."
Manatee County fire chiefs said Manatee County residents can find a host of online resources on fire prevention on this area of the Florida Forest Service's website.
To report a potential violation of the burn ban, Manatee County residents are asked to call a violation hotline at (941) 748-2071 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.). On evenings and weekends, call the Sheriff's Office non-emergency line at (941) 747-3011, ext. 2260
Manatee County Commissioners initially approved the burn ban on March 24. The seven-day resolution has been renewed in subsequent weeks each time it expired.