Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Jeremy Robshaw announced to Historic City News this morning that in the regular meeting of the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners, the decision was made to extended its burn ban for the next 90 days.
The ban also prohibits the discharge of any fireworks due to weather conditions including lack of substantial rainfall, high temperatures, worsening drought and significant wind.
The burn ban pertains to residential outdoor burning such as leaves, yard debris, fireworks (of any kind), campfires, flares or other outdoor burning devices. Types of burning still allowed are limited to campfires located within a metal ring, and only if they are located within a state park or licensed campground. In addition, cooking fires within a barbeque grill, hibachi or other similar device specifically intended for cooking are still permitted.
“The current St. Johns County drought index is 682 on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, on a scale of 0-800,” Robshaw told Historic City News. “Weather conditions are not expected to improve in the near future, and fire danger is considered extreme.”
Additionally, the availability of resources needed to fight brush fires is compromised due to the significant number of active wildfires throughout the region and state.
Currently, St. Johns County Fire Rescue and the Division of Forestry are monitoring numerous fires within our county. At this time all fires are contained, but both agencies will continue to “mop up” and overhaul the burn areas to prevent further flare ups.
Residents should expect hazardous smoke conditions throughout the county; depending on wind and humidity levels. Generally these conditions will be worse in the morning hours and decrease through the day as the sea breeze increases.
Officials encourage all residents to prepare a home safety plan for all members of their household, which includes two evacuation routes, a ready supply of food, water and medical needs, and a way to leave. Also remember to create a defensible space surrounding your home — free of debris. Clean gutters and roofs of leaves or branches that could easily ignite during a fire.
Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photographer