David Huffman, Alexander County Ranger with the North Carolina Forest Service, noted there have been several recent brush fires in the county. Most were caused by burning yard debris and escaped due to wind and dry conditions.
He urges everyone to use caution with fire at all times.
Huffman listed five brush fires totaling approximately 2.1 acres burned:
• Friday, March 5, ½ acre grass, brush – Bethlehem.
• Saturday, March 6, 1/10 acre grass – Stony Point.
• Sunday, March 7, 4/10 acre grass and woodland – Wittenburg.
• Monday, March 8, 1 acre grass plus a second call 1/10 acre grass – Ellendale, Bethlehem.
“All could have been easily prevented with proper watching of the fire and having a water hose or rake to extinguish the fires close by,” said Huffman.
The N.C. Forest Service encourages residents to contact their local county forest ranger for technical advice and options to help ensure the safety of people, property and the forest.
The N.C. Forest Service offers the following tips to protect property and prevent wildfires:
• Consider alternatives to burning. Some types of debris, such as leaves, grass and stubble, may be of more value if they are not burned, but used for compost or mulch instead.
• 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 www.ncforestservice.gov/burnpermit.
• Local fire officials can recommend a safe way to burn debris. 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.
• Stay informed about 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.
• 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.
For more information, contact Forest Ranger David Huffman at North Carolina Forest Service, 215 Adams Pond Lane, Taylorsville, phone 828-632-5810.