County Fire Chief Urges Caution When Burning
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County Fire Chief Urges Caution When Burning

County Fire Chief Urges Caution When Burning

Chief Ralph Franklin
Public Safety Director



County Fire Chief Ralph Franklin is urging all residents to use extreme caution when burning outdoors. Okeechobee County Fire Rescue has responded to 26 grass or brush fires since January 1, 2017.  That is up from three incidents compared to the same time in 2016.

According to the Florida Forest Service, Okeechobee County currently has a drought index of 605, which places the county in a moderate to high risk category for wildfires. The Keetch-Byram drought index (KBDI) is a continuous reference scale for estimating the dryness of the soil. The scale ranges from 0 to 800. High values of the KBDI are an indication that conditions are favorable for the occurrence and spread of wildfires.

Chief Franklin, states “residents should remember to follow the established burning guidelines, make sure that the fire is attended, and have an extinguishment method available at all times”.  He also reminds citizens that it is illegal to burn household garbage including paper products, treated lumber, plastics, rubber materials, tires, pesticides, paint, and aerosol containers.

The Chief also wants to make residents aware that should their burning cause damage to another person’s property, they may be held responsible for that damage. Additionally, they could be subject to being billed for the response cost necessary to control the fire

Should residents have any questions about the burning regulations, they can contact Okeechobee County Fire Rescue at 863-763-5544 or by email at