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As residents prepare for Hurricane Season, they are urged to trim trees and remove yard trash BEFORE a storm threatens. This tip is to prevent objects from becoming dangerous projectiles during a hurricane. In rural communities, tree and shrub trimmings, grass clippings, palm fronds, trees and tree stumps start to accumulate.

Some residents do not have access to county or commercial solid waste collection service for yard trash. Rural residents have two options: (1) Self-hauling yard trash to the neighborhood trash and recycling centers (2) Burning Yard Trash. Yard trash burning might be a cost effective solution to hauling the debris away. Burning small amounts of yard waste does not require an authorization from the Florida Forest Service, but you should check with your local city, county or Florida Forest Service officials to see if there are any restrictions in your area.

Many people do not know or are not aware of Florida’s outdoor burning regulations. Familiarize yourself with the burning regulations in your area. If you are to burn here a few tips to keep in mind:

-Never leave a fire unattended, and make sure it is out before you leave

-Keep a shovel and water hose handy

-Don’t burn on windy days or when the humidity is below 35%.

-The yard trash material intended to be burned must be generated on the premises of the burn site.

-The fires must not cause smoke, soot, odors, visible emissions, heat, flame, radiation, or other conditions to the degree that they become a nuisance or safety hazard.

-The fire must be started after 9 a.m. and be out by one hour after sunset.

-Your fire must be contained to an 8 foot diameter pile or non-combustible barrel and must be at least 25 feet from forests, 25 feet from your house, 50 feet from a paved public road and 150 feet from other occupied buildings.

-If your fire escapes, you may be held liable for suppression costs and damage to the property of others. Wildfires can occur all year round in Florida. During the summer months wildfires typically are smaller in size due to the wet season.

For additional fire prevention tips, burning rules and regulations contact your local Florida Forest Service office (Vero Beach 772-778-5085; Port St. Lucie 772-468-3915; Stuart 772-221-4045; Okeechobee 863-462-5160; Sebring 863-655-6407; Palmdale 863-674-4000). Please visit our website at www.floridaforestservice.com