The start of spring wildfire season is here, so exercise caution when burning.

by | Mar 8, 2023

Summary: March signals the start of spring wildfire season as people venture outside to burn yard debris. The N.C. Forest Service urges caution when burning to avoid a fire getting out of control.

Today’s Topic with Southern Farm Network’s Mike Davis 

  • We are entering spring fire season, so it’s a good time to remind residents to exercise caution when burning leaves or other yard waste to avoid having a fire get out of control.
  • Fires getting out of control happens more times than you might think.
  • In 2022, nearly 6,400 wildfires burned more than 27,000 acres across the state, with escaped outdoor fires being the leading cause of wildfires in North Carolina.
  • In fact, North Carolina ranked third in the nation for the number of human-caused wildfires.
  • Because many people are out working in their yards as the weather starts to warm, March through May can be the peak months for wildfire activity.
  • Some tips to keep in mind if you plan to burn yard debris are don’t burn on dry, windy days and make sure to have a valid burn permit from a local N.C. Forest Service office.
  • Be prepared before beginning a burn with items to help put the fire out. You’ll need a hose, bucket, steel rake and a shovel for tossing dirt on the fire. It’s also a good idea to have a phone nearby, just in case.
  • Also, before you burn, check on local burning laws. Some communities allow burning only during specific hours, while others don’t allow it.
  • Local fire officials can recommend safe ways to burn debris. For example, don’t pile vegetation on the ground. Put it in a cleared area and contain it in a screened receptacle away from overhead branches and wires.
  • Stay with a fire until it is completely out.
  • If you are burning agricultural residue and forestland litter, you should plow a fire line around the area to be burned. Separate large fields into smaller plots for burning one at a time.
  • Before burning in a wooded area, contact your N.C. Forest Service county ranger for technical advice.
  • Of course, another good idea is to consider alternatives to burning, such as using yard debris for compost or mulch.
  • If you choose to burn, please do so responsibly.