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    Tampa Bay briefs

    By Times staff writer

    © St. Petersburg Times, published January 31, 2001

    Davis Islands residents lose power

    TAMPA -- A power outage left many residents of Davis Islands near downtown in the dark Tuesday night.

    Witnesses described hearing a loud pop similar to a transformer explosion before the outage, which lasted between 30 and 45 minutes. It was unclear whether all of the island was affected and how many homes were without power Tuesday night. TECO officials could not be reached for comment.

    Hernando bans outdoor burning

    BROOKSVILLE -- All outdoor burning in Hernando County, including campfires and yard trash burns, was banned Tuesday as the County Commission sought to limit the wildfire threat to the tinder-dry community.

    Only burning permitted by the state Division of Forestry will be allowed under the emergency ordinance, which commissioners adopted unanimously and without comment.

    As of Monday, Hernando was the state's driest county, with a Keetch-Byram Dought Index rating of 655. On that index, 800 represents extreme drought.

    Commissioners had planned to wait another week before enacting a burn ban. At that time, they intended to implement an ordinance that would let them enact and end burn bans by resolution. But conditions have steadily worsened, and surrounding communities, including Pasco, Citrus and Sumter counties, have banned burning.

    Last week, the Spring Hill Fire Rescue District urged similar action.

    "We think we're more than justified in bringing this (emergency) ordinance," Hernando Fire Rescue Chief Mike Nickerson said.

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