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Drought conditions trigger burn ban for Sarasota County

Setting a controlled burn
Steve Newborn
WUSF Public Media
Chris Reed uses a drip torch to set a prescribed burn

The ban in Sarasota County will be lifted once the index reaches acceptable levels for seven consecutive days.

Sarasota County is under a burn ban.

Local drought conditions and an increased chance of fire hazards led to the decision Sunday, according to a statement from Sarasota County.

The ban applies within the city of Sarasota and unincorporated areas of the County.

Officials say cooking on grills or small pits are allowed, but other outdoor burning requires a permit. Grills or pits can not exceed three feet in diameter and two feet in height.

Bans automatically go into effect countywide and prohibit almost all open burning when the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) meets or exceeds 500. The index measures the dryness of soil and organic material on a forest floor.

As of May 5, Sarasota and Highlands were the only counties in the greater Tampa Bay region with a drought index above 500. Most of Central and Southwest Florida counties recorded an index above 400.

Sarasota County's ban will be lifted once the index drops below 500 for seven consecutive days.


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