DADE CITY — Following several recent fires throughout the county, Pasco commissioners on Tuesday morning instituted a countywide burn ban.
"We've had a number of different brush fires over the last several weeks that have really taxed our abilities," said Pasco fire Chief Anthony Lopinto. "We're going to need significant rainfall events over this summer to be able to right the drought conditions that we've been experiencing."
The ban, which primarily aims to stop people from burning yard trash, went into effect immediately. Anyone caught violating it could face a fine of $500, plus the cost for the fire trucks that respond.
Lopinto said Lake and Sumter counties also have instituted bans, and Hernando County is considering one as well.
Firefighters have been busy putting out fires in the woods, most notably the 100-acre blaze last week in Hudson that prompted the evacuation of more than 150 people. No one was hurt and no homes were damaged.
"I live in a rural area, and I smell smoke every morning when I go out," said Commissioner Pat Mulieri. "I was very anxious for this."