Polk Co. to lift burn ban after recent rains

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POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Polk County burn ban will be lifted on Friday, the Board of County Commissioners announced on Wednesday night.

Dry conditions and high temperatures prompted fire officials to declare a burn ban throughout the county at the end of March.

Under the order, outdoor open burning was strictly prohibited unless authorized by the Florida Forest Service.

But recent rains reduced the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI), which measures the likelihood and severity of brush fires. Less than 50 percent of Polk County is averaging over 500 on the KBDI index on a scale of 0 to 800, with 0 being the wettest and 800 the driest. As a rule of thumb, a burn ban is issued any time the scale goes above 500 for 50 percent of the county.

Residents are now permitted to burn yard debris, campfires, bonfires and construction debris.

The county says a burn ban can be reinstated if dry conditions return.

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