Hike service

Forest Service agencies urge caution during fall wildfire season

RALEIGH — With fall wildfire season looming, the USDA Forest Service and the North Carolina Forest Service are reminding the public to exercise caution when dealing with recreational burning.

The peak months of the fall fire season are October through early December, and fires left unattended can quickly spiral out of control and become wildfires that can threaten lives and property. Wildfires from reckless yard burning continue to be the leading cause of wildfires in North Carolina.

“North Carolina’s fall weather and beautiful, changing foliage draw people outdoors to participate in activities such as camping, hiking, or working in their yard clearing leaves and other yard debris. “said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “When choosing to campfire, grill in your yard, or burn away the leaves, it is important that you remain alert and safe with any outdoor fires to protect our forests. You are our best defense against forest fires.

For fiscal year 2021-22, 6,887 wildfires burned 26,958 acres in North Carolina. Only 1% of these wildfires were directly linked to a natural ignition source such as lightning. The remaining 99% of forest fires during this period were directly related to human activity. Some of the most intense wildfires in the state in the fall of 2021 were caused by wildfires that escaped.

In November 2021, the Sauratown Mountain Fire in Stokes County burned over 40 acres but took 16 days to fully control and contain due to steep and difficult terrain. Shortly after, on November 27, 2021, the Grindstone Fire, the largest wildfire of the 2021 fall wildfire season in North Carolina, ignited at Pilot Mountain State Park in Surry County. and eventually burned 1050 acres. Both incidents were caused by loose campfires.

For those who choose to burn, the NC Forest Service offers the following advice:

— Make sure you have a valid license. You can obtain a burn permit at any North Carolina Forest Service office or authorized agent, or online at https://www.ncforestservice.gov/burn_permits/burn_permits_main. htm.htm.

— Does not burn on dry, windy days.

— Keep your fire small, not big.

— Make sure you are well prepared before burning. To control the fire you will need a hose, a bucket, a steel rake and a shovel to throw the earth on the fire. Also keep a phone nearby.

— Never use kerosene, gasoline, diesel fuel or other flammable liquids to accelerate combustion.

— Douse charcoal briquettes or campfires thoroughly with water. Drown out all the embers, not just the red ones. Once soaked, stir the embers and soak them again. Make sure everything is moist and the embers are cool to the touch. If you don’t have water, mix enough dirt or sand with the embers to put out the fire, being careful not to bury the fire. Never throw hot ashes or embers into a wooded area.

“Never leave your fire. Stay with it until it’s completely out.

The USDA Forest Service offers the following guidelines for safely putting out campfires and helping prevent wildfires:

• Let the wood burn completely to ashes, if possible.

• Pour plenty of water on the fire, drown ALL the embers, not just the red ones.

• Pour until the hissing stops.

• Stir the ashes and embers from the campfire with a shovel.

• Scrape sticks and logs to remove embers.

• Stir and make sure everything is moist and the coals are cool to the touch.

• If you don’t have water, use soil. Pour dirt or sand over the fire, mixing enough dirt or sand with the embers to extinguish the fire.

• Continue adding or stirring until all remaining material is cold.

• DO NOT bury the fire as the fire will continue to smolder and may take roots on the fire which will eventually rise to the surface and start a forest fire.

“Always exercise caution with any outdoor burning. Even when burning bans are not in effect, weather conditions may not be favorable for outdoor fires,” Troxler said. not recommended during periods of low humidity or high winds.”

Studies have shown that taking these and other measures can reduce the possibility of wildfires. To learn more about fire safety and preventing wildfires and property loss, visit www.ncforestservice.gov and www.smokeybear.com. For more information and tips to help you create a defensible space around your home and protect your property from wildfires, visit www.resistwildfirenc.org.