For the first time in about seven years, Bay County is under a mandatory burn ban.
This comes after more than 4,000 acres of land were scorched from more than 400 fires in the district, in the past year.
Bay County commissioners passed the ban Tuesday morning, which goes into effect immediately and lasts for the next 90 days. The Division of Forestry says the only way this ban can be reversed, is if we start to see significant rainfall in this 90-day period.
No burning of any type is permitted other than barbequing.
Anyone caught burning will be charged with a misdemeanor, which comes with a $500 fine, 60 days in jail, or both.
Forestry official Bob Rhea says although this ban is the first one in years, officials say the number of fires in the area is not uncommon.
"It's very typical, when we get into dry spells, from March to June, that we see more active wildfires in Florida; and Bay County is no exception."
Back in 1999, the entire state of Florida was issued a burn ban. Officials say they're not expecting a ban to be issued statewide, at least for this year.