TAVARES — The Lake County Department of Public Safety is rescinding the countywide burn ban effective Wednesday, July 11.
The ban, which was in place since March 27, prohibited all outdoor burning due to persistent dry conditions and the constant threat of brush fires. The ban was lifted this week as Lake County's Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) fell below 500 for the first time in five months. The drought index ranges from 1 to 800, with higher numbers indicating dryer conditions.
"It's been below 500 for three days now so we're in relatively good shape," said Assistant Fire Chief Jim Dickerson of the Lake County Fire Rescue Division, "but residents must continue to use precautions as there are still dry conditions out there."
Residents can remain fire cautious by taking necessary steps to protect their property and family. One of the more effective ways to reduce the possibility of wildfires is to clear underbrush or debris blown down in storms. These dry plants and vegetation create more fuel for wildfires. It is recommended that homeowners try to maintain a 30-foot defensible space around their home to act as a firebreak. Other wildfire prevention tips include:
• Prune all branches around the residence to a height of 8 to 10 feet. Keep trees adjacent to buildings free of dead or dying limbs and moss.
• Remove all dead limbs, needles and debris from rain gutters.
• Regularly dispose of newspapers and rubbish.
• Rake leaves, dead limbs and twigs. Clear flammable vegetation from around and under structures.
• Remove dead branches that extend over the roof.
• Store flammable materials in approved safety cans.
• Never throw a lighted cigarette from the window of a vehicle or walk off and leave a burning cigarette.
For more prevention information, call the Lake County Department of Public Safety at (352) 343-9458.