TAMPA (FOX 13) - A Burn Ban has been instated in Hillsborough County after months of little rain, high temperatures and the increasing threat of wildfire.
An executive order banning open burning in Hillsborough County is in effect until at least May 4. The ban adds Hillsborough County to a list of six other counties - Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Polk, Sarasota, and Manatee - already under similar restrictions.
Under the executive order, all outdoor open burning is prohibited, except burning that has been specifically allowed in writing by the Florida Forest Service. The order includes fireworks and sparklers.
Outdoor grilling is allowed, as long as the flames are contained within a grill or other fireproof container, and the fire is constantly attended and fully extinguished.
Hillsborough County fire officials provided the following tips for preventing wildfires.
-Remove fuels that can lead flames to your home or that can be ignited by windblown embers.
-Clear away dead grass, leaves, twigs, and branches from structures, roofs, rain gutters, decks, and walkways.
-Store firewood at least 30 feet from occupied structures.
-Plant landscaping that retains moisture and resists ignition, such as native, fire-resistant vegetation.
-Help emergency responders find your home faster by making sure that street numbers are easy to read.
-Install metal screening that blocks embers from entering structures.
-Know where the closest firefighting water source is to your home or building.
-Dispose of cigarette butts properly.
-Pick up light-refracting metal items, such as soda cans, that can spark a fire.
-Don't park vehicles over high grass that could come into contact with hot engines and other components.
Residents and visitors can register for Hillsborough County's public notification system, HCFL Alert, at HCFLGov.net/HCFLAlert.