Mandatory burn ban in effect for some Central Florida counties amid dry spell

A mandatory burn ban is in effect for some Central Florida counties, banning all outdoor burning to avoid accidental wildfires. Such bans are enforced when the drought index (Keetch-Byram Drought Index or KBDI) hits or exceeds 500 and no rain is forecasted.

Seminole County

Leaders issued a burn ban in Seminole County on Tuesday. While the ban is in effect, residents throughout the county are not allowed to use campfires, fire pits, and fire pit grills, cook outdoors near wooded areas, or burn trash or any materials on the ground.

Officials said residents, however, can use above-ground charcoal, gas, and electric grills.

FORECAST: Dry spell and near triple-digit heat expected in Central Florida

County leaders said the ban will remain in effect until the KBDI drops below 500 for seven consecutive days or until further notice. 

The Florida Forest Service utilizes the KBDI index as a continuous reference scale to evaluate the potential and intensity of brush fires.

Those who violate the ban could face a civil citation of up to $500 per violation or up to 60 days of jail time. 

Osceola County

A burn ban was put in place on Wednesday for unincorporated Osceola County due to dry conditions sending the KBDI over 500.

The ban prohibits residents from all types of outside burning, including open fire pits, campfires, and yard debris. 

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Osceola County Fire Rescue will monitor conditions in that area to determine when the ban will be lifted.

Polk County

All of Polk County was placed under a burn ban on Tuesday morning due to the area's lack of rainfall. Polk County officials said the area is averaging over 507 on the KBDI.

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Central Florida Dry Spell

Central Florida can expect a dry spell and near triple-digit heat on Wednesday. Relative humidity levels will dip below 20% this afternoon, creating conditions more akin to Phoenix than Orlando and a high fire danger.

Wednesday's forecast high temperatures

Isolated storms are expected to develop later in the week, offering a brief respite from the dry spell.