USA — The Florida Division of Forestry is reminding residents this week of that they may be forced to pay if a fire they start escapes and creates a wildfire.
Division spokeswoman Ludie Bond said yard debris burns that escape are a common cause of fires during the winter months after hard freezes kill and dry out grasses and other light vegetation. The combination of escaped fires and readily available fuel can result in rapidly spreading and destructive wildfires.
“The early hard freezes we have experienced over the last few months have brought on our typical winter grass fire season a little early this year,” Bond said. “Remember – if your fire escapes, you may be liable for costs of suppression and damage to the property of others.”
Fire safety tips (Florida Division of Forestry)
Forestry officials issued the following outdoor burning tips:
– Check with your local fire department and the Division of Forestry office to make sure it is legal to burn in your area.
– Burners must comply with county/city as well as Division of Forestry fire ordinances
– Make sure you meet the required setbacks: 25 ft. from your house and forested areas, 50 ft. from a public paved road and 150 ft. from other occupied buildings
– Burn only yard waste, no household garbage (includes paper products and newspapers
– Don’t burn on windy days
– Never leave a fire unattended
– Keep a water hose or shovel handy in case your fire escapes
– Make sure your smoke does not obstruct visibility on nearby roads
– Be sure your fire is completely out before you leave