In light of significant drought conditions and the increased threat of wildfires, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), in cooperation with the state Division of Forestry and other partner agencies, issued an executive order June 16 prohibiting campfires in wildlife management areas, wildlife and environmental areas and all other lands it manages.
The order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. June 17 and remains in effect until rescinded by a subsequent order. The FWC joins the DOF, the Department of Environmental Protection and Florida water management districts in this effort.
“Special regulations are necessary to mitigate risk to public safety and to minimize the likelihood of igniting fires that will adversely impact wildlife and wildlife habitat,” said the order, signed by Nick Wiley, FWC executive director.
In its executive order, the FWC notes that Florida is experiencing inordinately dry conditions for this time of year. “As a result, DOF and FWC have been fighting multiple wildfires within wildlife management areas, wildlife and environmental areas and other lands managed by FWC.”
If placed openly on the ground, the fire is considered a campfire, and therefore barred. Only cooking fires contained in commercially designed apparatuses are allowed.
Any violation is considered a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $500 fine and 60 days in jail. Law enforcement agencies on each respective state property are responsible for enforcing violations.
Wendy Dial, 850-488-9477