Hillsborough County continues its lack of rainfall and various agencies have decided to take actions. SWFWMD has declared a Phase I water shortage and Hillsborough County has issued an open burning ban. More information can be found below.
Hillsborough County, Fla. (April 27, 2017) - The Emergency Policy Group today approved an executive order banning open burning in Hillsborough County until at least May 4.
Warm temperatures and dry conditions have combined to increase the danger of wildfires in our area.
See Video of Emergency Policy Group meeting
Under the executive order:
A local state of emergency is declared.
All outdoor open burning is prohibited. The only exception is burning that has been specifically allowed in writing by the Florida Forest Service.
Any authorized outdoor burning shall be conducted in strict compliance with state statutes, agency rules, or any other written conditions imposed by the agency or department. Any person conducting outdoor burning authorized by a state agency shall provide a copy of the written authorization to the Emergency Dispatch Center no less than 24 hours prior to conducting the burn.
The order bans 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 extinguished fully. By law, the order can be made for no more than seven days. If conditions persist, the order can be extended.
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.
Although no large wildfires have yet occurred in Hillsborough County, it's important to stay in the know. Residents and visitors should register for HCFL Alert, Hillsborough County's official public notification system for emergency and urgent alerts. To receive messages by email, phone, and text, go to HCFLGov.net/HCFLAlert.
District Declares Phase I Water Shortage throughout 16-County Region
04/25/2017 12:00 AM EDT
The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s (District) Governing Board voted today to declare a Phase I Water Shortage for all 16 counties throughout the District’s boundaries. Included in the order are Charlotte, Citrus, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota and Sumter counties.
The primary purpose for a Phase I water shortage is to alert the public that watering restrictions could be forthcoming. The order also requires local utilities to review and implement procedures for enforcing year-round water conservation measures and water shortage restrictions, including reporting enforcement activity to the District.
Phase I water shortage order does not change allowable watering schedules, however it does prohibit “wasteful and unnecessary” water use.
The District considers both natural water resource conditions and the viability of public supply when deciding to declare a water shortage order – that means, restricting the amount of water the public can use. For the past 20 years, the District has worked diligently with our partners to develop alternative water supplies. Even though we are experiencing drought conditions, there is adequate water supply available to the public.
Florida’s dry season runs October through May and April is historically one of the driest months of the year. The District encourages water conservation year-round, and offers many tips to reduce water use and additional information on our website WaterMatters.org/conservation.