Thursday, May 12, 2011

Smoke from large wildfire prompts cautionary message from state forestry officials

The N.C. Division of Forest Resources is encouraging landowners to use caution before burning limbs, leaves and other yard debris during the busiest season for wildfires.
The impacts from wildfires can be widespread, as evidenced by the 22,000-acre Pains Bay Fire burning in Hyde and Dare counties. Smoke from that fire has inundated large parts of eastern and central North Carolina, prompting officials with the N.C. Division of Air Quality to alert sensitive people to reduce their outdoor activities until the smoke subsides. The Pains Bay Fire is now one of the nation’s largest wildfires burning.
Spring fire season typically ends in late May. Until then, officials with the state Division of Forest Resources have a few tips for people considering burning their limbs, downed trees or leaves. To protect property and prevent wildfires:
· Make sure you have a valid open burning permit. You can obtain a burning permit at any N.C. Division of Forest Resources office or authorized permitting agent or online.
· Check the weather and don't burn on dry, windy days.
· Local fire officials can recommend a safe way to burn debris. Don't pile vegetation on the ground. Instead, it should be placed in a cleared area and contained in a screened receptacle, away from overhead branches and wires.
· Consider the alternatives to burning. Leaves, grass and stubble may be of more value if they are not burned but used for mulch instead.
· Be sure you are fully prepared before burning. To control the fire, you will need a hose, bucket and a shovel for tossing dirt on the fire.
· Never use kerosene, gasoline, diesel fuel or other flammable liquids to speed debris burning.
· Stay with your fire until it is completely out.
Studies have shown that adhering to these and other measures can reduce the possibility of wildfires.
For more information, go to the website or contact Brian Haines, public information officer with the N.C. Division of Forest Resources, at (919) 857-4828.

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