As dry weather conditions continue, Sarasota County fire officials have issued a recreational burn ban to try to get ahead of the possibility of wildfires.
Sarasota County Fire Chief Michael Regnier issued the ban Friday due to the dry conditions and increased chance of wildfires, according to a release.
Regnier said in a video on Facebook that the department is responding to about three to four fires a day now.
The ban is effective immediately and will remain in place until the threat of wildfires reduces and weather conditions change, according to county officials. There is a possible fine if violators are found, according to Regnier.
Cooking fires using an outdoor grill are the sole exception to the ban. Officials remind those using grills to make sure they are being used in a safe location, never leave it unattended and to ensure the coals are completely cool before throwing them out.
The problem, Regnier said, is the embers that can fly away and start other fires.
Clearing a 30-foot buffer around any structure was also recommended to homeowners in the release.
“Should a wildfire erupt, nearby residents are urged to follow the directions from authorities which may include evacuations in localized areas. We ask all residents to remain vigilant during these dry conditions,” Regnier said in a release.
The city of North Port also issued a similar burn ban Friday afternoon.
Some relief could be on the way. There’s a 30 percent chance of showers Saturday, increasing to a 40 percent chance Saturday night that continues into Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Sunday’s forecast even calls for a slight chance of thunderstorms that have a 20 percent chance of continuing into Monday.