Drought-like conditions prompted county commissioners Wednesday to issue a burn ban.
After weeks of little or no rain, the grass and foliage is like a tinderbox in Hernando County.
According to County Fire Chief Michael Nickerson, Hernando County on Wednesday posted a 611 on the Keetch-Byram dryness index. The index goes as high as 800, which signifies desert conditions.
“We are fast approaching the desert level,” Nickerson said.
Nickerson said his department’s response to brush fires is up 100 percent since the first of the year. In all, firefighters have responded to 36 brush fires, 12 since Monday.
More than 180 acres have burned in the county since Jan. 1, he said.
Once the rains return in earnest and dry conditions are alleviated, Nickerson said he will recommend rescinding the ban.
There is no rain in the forecast until Saturday. Florida’s rainy season typically is from June through September.
Also at Wednesday’s Land Use Hearing, county commissioners:
•Voted 5-0 to approve spending $130,000 to purchase a single-family home and adjoining lot located on the southeast corner of the old Department of Public Works compound in Brooksville.
The property owners, Essie Mae Holmes and Sandra Holmes, have agreed to release the county from any future personal injury claims arising from the old DPW site, which was found to be contaminated.
• Postponed action on setting a date and location for a Hernando Progress economic workshop.
Reporter Michael D. Bates can be reached at 352-544-5290 or email@example.com.