The Pasco County Board of County Commissioners passed an ordinance on April 11 that will give the county administrator the power to issue burn bans based on recommendations from fire officials.
- Previously, getting bans approved took weeks
- New process would allow bans to go into effect immediately
- Ordinance still needs to be filed with Department of State
Pasco County Fire Rescue Chief Scott Cassin said in the past, getting bans approved has taken weeks.
“It’s extremely frustrating, because it was around a year ago in Pasco County we were seeing the effects of the large number of brush fires that we had," Cassin said. "Several of those brush fires were quite large in magnitude. So we needed to do something really, really quick, and we were kind of bound by the meeting schedule."
In the past, it’s been up to county commissioners to authorize a ban, and regular meetings are only held twice a month. Cassin said this new process would allow a ban to take effect immediately.
Cassin said the goal is to reduce the amount of incidents crews have to respond to, potentially saving property and lives. During the vast majority of last year’s fires, crews were able to get flames under control before they affected homeowners.
“There was a lot of land that was affected and a lot of close calls,” Cassin said. “We did lose some structures, but on the grand scheme of things, when you look at all the calls we did respond on, we were very fortunate.”
The county’s new process will go into effect once the ordinance is filed with the Department of State.