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Polk County Officials Issue Burn Ban

Published: May 28, 2024

Bartow, Fla. (May 28, 2024) – As Polk County continues experiencing dry weather conditions due to a prolonged lack of rainfall, Polk County officials issued a burn ban throughout the county. Currently, Polk County is averaging over 507 on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI). The KBDI index is a continuous reference scale used by the Florida Forest Service to assess the likelihood and severity of brush fires. The current increased risk of brush fires and uncontrolled fires are a threat to Polk County’s safety. To prioritize life and property throughout Polk County, officials issued the burn ban, effective May 28, 2024.

The burn ban prohibits:

  • Campfires;
  • Bonfires;
  • Unpermitted controlled burns;
  • Burning yard and household trash;
  • Burning construction debris;
  • Burning organic debris;
  • Igniting fireworks; and
  • Noncommercial burning of materials other than for religious or ceremonial purposes, in which case they must be contained in a barbecue grill or barbecue pit, and the total fuel area cannot exceed three feet in diameter and two feet in height.

“Polk County Fire Rescue has held off as long as we possibly can on issuing this burn ban,” said Polk County Fire Rescue Chief, Hezedean A. Smith, D.M. “The current dry conditions are favorable for the rapid development and spread of brush fires throughout the County. Ensuring the safety of every resident and visitor throughout Polk County and minimizing the likeliness for loss of property county wide are top priorities for Polk County Fire Rescue.”

The burn ban applies to all unincorporated Polk and the following municipalities: Auburndale, Bartow, Dundee, Fort Meade, Frostproof, Haines City, Lake Alfred, Lakeland and Winter Haven.

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.

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