Memorandum: Executive Order 22-54 (Emergency Management – Bay County Wildfires)

Memorandum: Executive Order 22-54 (Emergency Management – Bay County Wildfires)

Memorandum: Executive Order 22-54 (Emergency Management – Bay County Wildfires)

TO:                 Members of the Press

FROM:           Taryn Fenske, Communications Director, Governor Ron DeSantis

DATE:            March 4, 2022

RE:                  Executive Order 22-54 (Emergency Management – Bay County Wildfires)

 

Good evening:

Today, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 22-54  (Emergency Management – Bay County Wildfires). The Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) is actively communicating with local law enforcement and response teams in surrounding areas.

Earlier today, FDEM requested a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in response to the Adkins Road Fire in Bay County. FDEM requested a FMAG on behalf of the State of Florida.

The National Weather Service Tallahassee issued an Elevated Fire Danger Special Weather Statement this afternoon, as low humidity and the recent lack of rainfall will lead to elevated fire weather concerns. Smoke from burns or fires may settle near the ground (especially overnight), resulting in quick drop in visibility in combination with fog. Bay County residents should heed all guidance from local authorities.

A copy of Executive Order 22-54 is provided below. A PDF copy is available here.

Sincerely,

Taryn Fenske
Director of Communications
Governor Ron DeSantis

STATE OF FLORIDA

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER 22-54

(Emergency Management – Bay County Wildfires)

WHEREAS, a wildfire in Bay County has been burning since 10:30 AM CST, and has now burned an estimated 800 acres within Bay County; and

WHEREAS, the wildfire has engulfed eight (8) homes, caused over a thousand homes to be evacuated, and continues to threaten critical infrastructure; and

WHEREAS, a moderate drought exists in the Florida Panhandle with rainfall deficits exceeding four (4) inches over the past 30 days; and

WHEREAS, weather conditions in the area over the next four (4) days will continue to promote rapid fire growth; and

WHEREAS, precautions are needed to protect the lives and property of the people in the threatened communities, the environment, and the general welfare of the State of Florida; and

WHEREAS, as Governor of Florida, I am responsible to meet the dangers presented to Florida and its people by this emergency.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ron DeSantis, as Governor of Florida, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Article IV, Section 1(a) of the Florida Constitution and by the Florida Emergency Management Act, as amended, and all other applicable laws, promulgate the following Executive Order, to take immediate effect:

Section 1.        Because of the foregoing conditions, which are projected to constitute a major disaster, I declare that a state of emergency exists in Bay County.

Section 2.        I designate the Director of the Division of Emergency Management (“Director”) as the State Coordinating Officer for the duration of this emergency and direct him to execute the State’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and other response, recovery, and mitigation plans necessary to cope with the emergency. Pursuant to section 252.36(1)(a), Florida Statutes, I delegate to the State Coordinating Officer the authority to exercise those powers delineated in sections 252.36(6)-(12), Florida Statutes, which he shall exercise as needed to meet this emergency, subject to the limitations of section 252.33, Florida Statutes. In exercising the powers delegated by this Executive Order, the State Coordinating Officer shall confer with the Governor to the fullest extent practicable. The State Coordinating Officer shall also have the authority to:

  • Invoke and administer the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (“EMAC”) (sections 252.921-252.9335, Florida Statutes) and other compacts and agreements existing between the State of Florida and other states, and the further authority to coordinate the allocation of resources from such other states that are made available to Florida under such compacts and agreements so as to best meet this emergency.
  • Seek direct assistance and enter into agreements with any and all agencies of the federal government as may be needed to meet this emergency.
  • Direct all state, regional, and local governmental agencies, including law enforcement agencies, to identify personnel needed from those agencies to assist in meeting the response, recovery, and mitigation needs created by this emergency, and to place all such personnel under the direct command and coordination of the State Coordinating Officer to meet this emergency.
  • Direct the actions of any state agency as necessary to implement the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Disaster Recovery Framework.
  • Designate Deputy State Coordinating Officers and Deputy State Disaster Recovery Coordinators, as necessary.
  • Suspend the effect of any statute, rule, or order that would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay any mitigation, response, or recovery action necessary to cope with this emergency. In accordance with section 252.3611(1), Florida Statutes, any such order, declaration, or other action shall specify each statute or rule being amended or waived, if applicable, and the expiration date for the order or action.
  • Enter orders as may be needed to implement any of the foregoing powers; however, the requirements of section 120.54(4), Florida Statutes, do not apply to any such orders issued by the State Coordinating Officer. No such order shall remain in effect beyond the expiration of this Executive Order, including any extension thereof.

Section 3.        I order the Adjutant General to activate the Florida National Guard, as needed, to deal with this emergency.

Section 4.        I find that the special duties and responsibilities resting upon some State, regional, and local agencies and other governmental bodies in responding to this emergency may require them to suspend or waive certain statutes, rules, ordinances, and orders they administer.  Therefore, I issue the following authorizations:

  • Pursuant to section 252.36(6)(a), Florida Statutes, the Executive Office of the Governor may suspend all statutes and rules affecting budgeting to the extent necessary to provide budget authority for state agencies to cope with this emergency.  The requirements of section 120.54(4), Florida Statutes, do not apply to any such suspension issued by the Executive Office of the Governor; however, no such suspension shall remain in effect beyond the expiration of this Executive Order, including any extension thereof.
  • Each State agency may suspend the provisions of any regulatory statute prescribing the procedures for conduct of state business or the orders or rules of that agency, if strict compliance with the provisions of any such statute, order, or rule would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency.  This includes, but is not limited to, the authority to suspend any and all statutes, rules, ordinances, or orders which affect leasing, printing, purchasing, travel, and the condition of employment and the compensation of employees.  For the purposes of this Executive Order, “necessary action in coping with the emergency” means any emergency mitigation, response, or recovery action: (1) prescribed in the State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (“CEMP”); or (2) ordered by the State Coordinating Officer or designee.  In accordance with section 252.3611(1), Florida Statutes, any agency order, declaration, or other action suspending a statute or rule shall specify each statute or rule being amended or waived, if applicable, and the expiration date for the order or action.  The requirements of section 120.54(4), Florida Statutes, shall not apply to any such suspension issued by a State agency; however, no such suspension shall remain in effect beyond the expiration of this Executive Order, including any extension thereof.
  • In accordance with section 252.38, Florida Statutes, each political subdivision within the State of Florida may waive the procedures and formalities otherwise required of the political subdivision by law pertaining to:
  • Performance of public work and taking whatever prudent action is necessary to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the community;
  • Following local procurement and contracting policies;
  • Entering into contracts; however, political subdivisions are cautioned against entering into time and materials contracts without a ceiling as defined by 2 CFR 200.318(j) or cost plus a percentage of cost contracts prohibited by 2 CFR 200.324(d);
  • Incurring obligations;
  • Employment of permanent and temporary workers;
  • Utilization of volunteer workers;
  • Rental of equipment;
  • Acquisition and distribution, with or without compensation, of supplies, materials, and facilities; and
  •  Appropriation and expenditure of public funds.
  • All agencies whose employees are certified as disaster service volunteers within the meaning of section 110.120(3), Florida Statutes, may release any such employees for such service as requested by the employee to meet this emergency.
  • The Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) may:
  • Waive the collection of tolls and other fees and charges for the use of the Turnpike and other public highways, to the extent such waiver may be needed to provide emergency assistance or facilitate the evacuation of the affected counties;
  • Reverse the flow of traffic or close any and all roads, highways, and portions of highways as may be needed for the safe and efficient transportation of evacuees to those counties that the State Coordinating Officer may designate as destination counties for evacuees in this emergency;
  • Suspend enforcement of the registration requirements pursuant to section 316.545(4), Florida Statutes, for commercial motor vehicles that enter Florida to provide emergency services or supplies, to transport emergency equipment, supplies or personnel, or to transport FEMA mobile homes or office style mobile homes into or from Florida;

4)      Waive by special permit the warning signal requirements in the Utility Accommodations Manual to accommodate public utility companies from other jurisdictions which render assistance in restoring vital services; and

5)      Waive the size and weight restrictions for divisible loads on any vehicles transporting emergency equipment, services, supplies, and agricultural commodities and citrus as recommended by the Commissioner of Agriculture, allowing the establishment of alternate size and weight restrictions for all such vehicles for the duration of the emergency. The DOT shall issue permits and such vehicles shall be subject to such special conditions as the DOT may endorse on any such permits.

Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to allow any vehicle to exceed weight limits posted for bridges and like structures, or relieve any vehicle or the carrier, owner, or driver of any vehicle from compliance with any restrictions other than those specified in this Executive Order, or from any statute, rule, order, or other legal requirement not specifically waived or suspended herein or by supplemental order by the State Coordinating Officer.

  1. The Executive Director of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) may:

1)      Suspend enforcement of the registration requirements pursuant to sections 316.545(4) and 320.0715, Florida Statutes, for commercial motor vehicles that enter Florida to provide emergency services or supplies, to transport emergency equipment, supplies or personnel, or to transport FEMA mobile homes or office style mobile homes into or from Florida;

2)      Waive the hours-of-service requirements for such vehicles;

3)      Suspend the enforcement of the licensing and registration requirements under the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) pursuant to chapter 207, Florida Statutes, and the International Registration Plan (IRP) pursuant to section 320.0715, Florida Statutes, for motor carriers or drivers operating commercial motor vehicles that are properly registered in other jurisdictions and that are participating in emergency relief efforts through the transportation of equipment and supplies or providing other assistance in the form of emergency services;

4)      Waive fees for duplicate or replacement vessel registration certificates, vessel title certificates, vehicle license plates, vehicle registration certificates, vehicle tag certificates, vehicle title certificates, handicapped parking permits, replacement drivers’ licenses, and replacement identification cards and to waive the additional fees for the late renewal of or application for such licenses, certificates, and documents due to the effects of adverse weather conditions; and

5)      Defer administrative actions and waive fees imposed by law for the late renewal or application for the above licenses, certificates, and documents, which were delayed due to the effects of adverse weather conditions, including in counties wherein the DHSMV has closed offices, or any office of the County Tax Collector that acts on behalf of the DHSMV to process renewals has closed offices due to adverse weather conditions.

Recordkeeping and other applicable requirements for existing IFTA and IRP licensees and registrants are not affected by this Executive Order.  The DHSMV shall promptly notify the State Coordinating Officer when the waiver is no longer necessary.

  1. All agencies shall implement Selected Exempt Services (SES) Extraordinary Payment Plans and Career Service Regular Compensatory Leave Payment Plans for:

1)      All essential agency personnel who are required to work extraordinary hours when state-owned or state-operated facilities are closed in response to an emergency condition.  Employees who are eligible to receive extraordinary pay under the agency’s activated plan shall accrue special compensatory leave credits for work performed during facility closures up to the number of hours in the employee’s established workday.  For these employees, any additional time worked beyond the employee’s established workday during facility closures will result in extraordinary pay;

2)      All agency personnel who are assigned to the State Emergency Operations Center and are required to work extraordinary hours; and

3)      All agency personnel who are deployed throughout the state in response to an emergency condition and are required to work extraordinary hours.

  1. All State agencies may waive the forty-day time limit to issue a warrant pursuant to section 215.422(3)(b), Florida Statutes.  This waiver applies to invoices and reimbursement requests arising from this emergency that were received, inspected, and approved by the agency prior to the expiration of this Executive Order, including any extension thereof.  This waiver of section 215.422(3)(b), Florida Statutes, and all waivers based upon this waiver shall expire upon the expiration of this Executive Order, including any extension thereof.
  2. The provisions of section 934.50, Florida Statutes, excluding subsection (4), are waived for state and local agencies conducting emergency operations arising from the state of emergency for the limited purpose of capturing aerial evidence concerning the amount of damage sustained to private and public property; to assist in search, rescue, and recovery activities; and prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property.

Section 5.        All public facilities, including elementary and secondary schools, community colleges, state universities, and other facilities owned or leased by the state, regional or local governments that are suitable for use as public shelters shall be made available at the request of the local emergency management agencies to ensure the proper reception and care of all evacuees.  Under the authority contained in section 252.36, Florida Statutes, I direct the Superintendent of each public-school district in the State of Florida to report the closure of any school within its district to the Commissioner of the Florida Department of Education.  Furthermore, I direct the Commissioner of the Department of Education to:

  1. Maintain an accurate and up-to-date list of all such closures; and
  2. Provide that list daily to the State Coordinating Officer.

Section 6.        I find that the demands placed upon the funds appropriated to the agencies of the State of Florida and to local agencies are unreasonably great and may be inadequate to pay the costs of coping with this disaster.  In accordance with section 252.37(2), Florida Statutes, as amended by Chapter 2022-1, Laws of Florida, I direct that sufficient funds be made available, as needed, by transferring and expending moneys from the Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund.

Section 7.        All state agencies entering emergency orders, emergency rules, or other emergency actions in response to this emergency shall advise the State Coordinating Officer contemporaneously or as soon as practicable thereafter, and, pursuant to section 252.36(3)(b), Florida Statutes, shall submit the order or declaration to the Division of Administrative Hearings within five days of issuance.

Section 8.        Medical professionals and workers, social workers, and counselors with good and valid professional licenses issued by states other than the State of Florida may render such services in Florida during this emergency for persons affected by this emergency with the condition that such services be rendered to such persons free of charge, and with the further condition that such services be rendered under the auspices of the American Red Cross or the Florida Department of Health.

Section 9. Pursuant to section 501.160, Florida Statutes, it is unlawful and a violation of section 501.204, Florida Statutes, for a person to rent or sell or offer to rent or sell at an unconscionable price within the area for which the state of emergency is declared, any essential commodity including, but not limited to, supplies, services, provisions, or equipment that is necessary for consumption or use as a direct result of the emergency.

Section 10.        Under the authority contained in sections 252.36(6)(a), (g), and (m), Florida Statutes, I direct that, for the purposes of this emergency, the term “essentials”, as defined by section 252.359(2), Florida Statutes, shall be the same as and no more expansive than the term “commodity”, as defined by section 501.160(1)(a), Florida Statutes (hereinafter referred to collectively or alternatively as “essential commodities”).  Accordingly, any person who delivers essential commodities to a location in the area(s) declared to be under a state of emergency by this Executive Order, and when necessary to ensure that those commodities are made available to the public, may travel within evacuated areas and exceed curfews, provided the State Coordinating Officer determines, after consultation with the appropriate Emergency Support Function(s), that:

  1. Law enforcement officials in the declared area(s) can provide adequate security to protect the essential commodities from theft;
  2. The weight of a delivery vehicle will not jeopardize the structural integrity of any roadway or bridge located within the declared area;
  3. Delivery vehicles will not negatively impact evacuation activities in the declared area(s); and
  4. Delivery vehicles will not negatively impact any response or recovery activities occurring within the declared area(s).

After consulting with the appropriate Emergency Support Function(s), and after consulting with local officials, the State Coordinating Officer may dictate the routes of ingress, egress, and movement within the declared area(s) that drivers must follow when delivering essential commodities.

Provided he or she is actually delivering medications, any person authorized to deliver medications under chapter 893, Florida Statutes, qualifies as a person delivering essential commodities.

In order to qualify as a person delivering essential commodities under this section, a person must be in the process of delivering essential commodities only.  If an individual is transporting both essential and non-essential commodities, then this section shall not provide any authorization for that individual to enter into or move within the declared area(s).

Section 11.        Consistent with Executive Order 80-29, nothing in this Executive Order shall prevent local jurisdictions in any area not declared to be under a state of emergency by this Executive Order from taking prompt and necessary action to save lives and protect the property of their citizens, including the authority to compel and direct timely evacuation when necessary.

Section 12. I authorize the Florida Housing Finance Corporation to distribute funds pursuant to section 420.9073, Florida Statutes, to any county, municipality, or other political subdivision located within the area(s) declared to be under a state of emergency by this Executive Order.  The authority of the Florida Housing Finance Corporation to distribute funds in connection with this emergency shall expire six months after the expiration of this Executive Order, including any extension thereof.

Section 13.        All actions taken by the Director of the Division of Emergency Management with respect to this emergency before the issuance of this Executive Order are ratified.

Section 14.  This Executive Order is effective immediately and shall expire sixty (60) days from this date unless extended.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and have caused the Great Seal of the State of Florida to be affixed at the Capital, Tallahassee, Florida, this 4th day of March, 2022.