BAY COUNTY, Fla (WJHG/WECP) - The Florida Forest Service is urging residents to exercise caution with outdoor burning during Florida's Wildfire Awareness Week.
According to the Florida Forest Service, the leading causes of wildfires this time of year are escaped burning yard debris and unauthorized debris burns. If you are wanting to burn debris, anything bigger than an eight-by-eight pile needs to have a permit.
The fire should be started after 8 a.m. and should be extinguished one hour before sunset. It is illegal to burn household garbage including paper products, plastics, and rubber materials. Make sure to never leave a fire unattended or burn on windy days.
"With the amount of debris left over after Hurricane Michael, fires are going to be much more intense this year, they may be more common and that could be for the next few years to come. Unfortunately, burning is the best way to get rid of this debris that's on the ground," Florida Forest Service Public Information Officer Melanie Banton said.
Florida Forest Service officials say to always call your local fire department or the Florida Forest Service with any questions. The Florida Forest Service also has an app called "Florida Burn Tools," with more information.