From the May 2008 issue
To Prevent Wildfires, Avoid Open Burning
Due to retreating snows and the onset of warm, dry weather, people should avoid burning brush and other debris during early spring conditions. Every spring, firefighters respond to hundreds of wildfires caused by open burning. In fact, brush and debris burning is the second most common preventable cause of wildfires. A lack of green vegetation, lots of dead vegetation, warm temperatures, sun and winds all allow wildfires to start easily and spread quickly. However, they could be prevented with safe alternatives like chipping, composting or simply waiting for the growth of new green vegetation later in the spring.
Burn barrels are a fire hazard and pollute the air as well
Practice Safe Outdoor Burning
When conditions are more favorable for burning brush and debris, never leave a fire unattended, and always make sure a fire is completely out! To ensure that a fire is extinguished: 1) Drown the fire with water, making sure that all materials, embers and coals are saturated, and 2) Stir the remains of the fire, add more water and stir again.
• Never burn garbage.
• Burn only woody material such as leaves, grass and light brush. • Check and obey all local laws and ordinances.
• Obtain an open burning permit where required.
• Avoid burning on windy days or when wind is expected.
• Burn early in the morning when humidity is high and winds are low. • Clear all flammable material for a distance of 10 to 15 feet around the material to be burned. • Keep piles for burning small, adding small amounts of material as burning progresses. • Always have a garden hose, shovel, water bucket or other means for extinguishing a fire nearby.