Thursday, May 4, 2017

Franklin County Commissioners question validity of burn ban on St. George Island

 Franklin County commissioners are questioning whether a burn ban is needed for St. George Island and have asked the county attorney to investigate whether the fire chief has the authority to issue a burn ban without county approval.

St George Island Fire Chief Jay Abbott issued a burn ban on St George Island on April 13th following one of the worst wildfires on the island in recent memory.

The fire burned nearly 70 acres of woodlands along the Apalachicola Bay.

The last time there was a burn ban in any part of Franklin County was in 2011.

County commissioners say they are getting a lot of complaints from people who want to be able to grill out on the island but can't because of the burn ban.

Commissioners and the county emergency management office say they were not consulted before the ban was put in place, so they want to know if the fire chief has the authority to impose the ban without their approval.

They pointed out that while there are some burn bans in effect in central and south Florida where there are currently large wildfires burning, there are no other burn bans in effect in our area.

Governor Rick Scott did issue a statewide state of emergency because of the high number of wildfires currently burning around the state and the high chance of more wildfires in the coming months.