NC Commissioner Steve Troxler: Use Caution When Burning During Spring Fire Season

The N.C. Forest Service defines March through May as Spring wildfire season and cautions residents to be careful when burning during this time of year.

  • As the temperatures warm up, people are getting out in their yards, clearing out debris from gardens, flower beds and woody areas.
  • Some will take the opportunity to burn the yard waste, which is why the N.C. Forest Service cautions residents to use care when burning during the Spring wildfire season.
  • Windy, dry conditions make it easier for a yard fire to get out of control and spread. It happens more than people think.
  • Every year, almost 40 percent of wildfires in North Carolina are the result of careless debris burning.
  • Which is why you should never leave a debris fire unattended, and always have a water source and phone nearby in case you need them.
  • Depending on the debris, it may make more sense to compost. For example, leaves, grass and stubble can add nutrients to the soil as compost or mulch.
  • If you do decide to burn, the N.C. Forest Service offers the following tips:
  • Check local burning laws. Some communities allow burning only during specified hours. Others forbid it entirely.
  • Make sure you have a valid permit. You can obtain a burn permit at any open authorized permitting agent or online at ncforestservice.gov/burnpermit.
  • Don’t pile vegetation on the ground. Instead, place it in a cleared area and contain it in a screened receptacle away from overhead branches and wires. Keep your pile small, not tall.
  • Keep an eye on the weather and possible weather changes. Postpone outdoor burning during high winds or gusts, or periods of low relative humidity. Even if you have a valid permit, stop burning if strong winds develop. It is too easy for a spark to travel and unintentionally spread a fire in windy conditions.
  • Be sure you are fully prepared before burning. To control the fire, you will need a hose, bucket, steel rake and a shovel for tossing dirt on the fire. Keep a phone nearby, too.
  • Never use kerosene, gasoline, diesel fuel or other flammable liquids to speed up debris burning.
  • Stay with your fire until it is completely out.
  • The old saying is an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I urge residents to do their part when burning to protect our natural resources. Don’t be careless with fire.