Skip to content
April 15, 2024

Spring Wildfire season begins, two grass fires extinguished

Forest Ranger David Huffman shared this photo of the scorched field on Devil Track Rd. from the grass fire on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024.

March will officially cue the start of spring wildfire season in North Carolina, and the N.C. Forest Service is urging residents to use caution with all outdoor fires, especially yard debris burns. Grass fires burned 2/10 acre in two different location this week, according to Alexander County Forest Ranger David Huffman.

A grass fire on Sunday in the Boston Heights area of Taylorsville was due to debris burning, Huffman said. The resident put a piece of cardboard on the debris fire and an ember flew off and ignited grass.

A second fire, which broke out Monday on Devil Track Road in Bethlehem, was also due to debris burning on a windy day. Huffman noted that embers got into dry grass and “took off.” The landowner had nothing with him to prevent fire spreading.

“People do not need to burn boxes and paper. They float off too easily and ignite things,” Huffman related. “Spring fire season will be early, just like spring. Keep a water hose, rake, or something handy to help prevent the fire from escaping while burning.”

The N.C. Forest Service responded to more than 5,300 wildfires across North Carolina in 2023, with escaped debris burns as the leading cause.

“Last year, 99% of wildfires in our state were directly related to human activity,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “This means that most of our wildfires could have been prevented. Before choosing to burn yard debris, make sure you have a valid burn permit, check the weather and avoid burning on dry, windy days. You are the first line of defense when it comes to preventing wildfires.”

Spring weather tends to draw people outdoors to work in their yards and many choose burning as a method to dispose of leaves, limbs and other yard debris.

“During the spring season, fires can spread quickly,” said North Carolina State Forester David Lane. “Your N.C. Forest Service county ranger is a resource and can provide guidance about when, where and how to burn safely outdoors. Contact your local NCFS county ranger’s office before starting an outdoor fire.”

The N.C. Forest Service also offers the following tips:

• 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 N.C. Forest Service office or authorized permitting agent, or online at www.ncforestservice.gov/burnpermit.
• Keep an eye on the weather. 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, place it in a cleared area and contain it in a screened receptacle away from overhead branches and wires.
• 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 information about creating defensible space and a fire-resistant landscape around your home and property, visit www.resistwildfirenc.org.

To contact Alexander County Forest Ranger David Huffman, call 828-632-5810.

Leave a Comment