Pasco Declares State of Emergency
Open fires are banned until further notice.
With rainfall scant and wildfire risks high, the Pasco County Commission put the kibosh on outdoor burning today and declared a state of emergency in the process.
“Under the burn ban all outdoor burning, unless authorized by the Florida Division of Forestry, including, but not limited to, the burning of yard trash, household paper products, bonfires, campfires, warming fires, and cooking fires is hereby prohibited,” according to the county's website.
The only exception to the new rule is outdoor cooking that involves a contained gas or charcoal grill. Fire pits are banned.
Last week, a brush fire wreaked havoc on Hudson forcing evacuations and the closing of a portion of U.S. 19 for a time. Last month, wildfires from other parts of the state let their presence be known throughout the Bay area as a heavy smoke smell blanketed communities from New Port Richey to Sarasota.
As of May 7, the Florida Forest Service reported 17 active wildfires covering 100-plus acres in the state. The total number of wildfires was at 106.
Pasco joins several other counties that have put an outright ban on burning as the state’s Fire Danger Index reports many areas with moderate to very high risk of fire.