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Forest service, volunteer firefighters conduct controlled burn at Eastern 4-H Center

by DAN FEOLA

Tyrrell County Forest Ranger
A large number of wildfires occur in April in North Carolina. With the change of season many people use the warmer, drier conditions to light debris, yard and field fires on their property.

TYRRELL VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT and the NC Forest Service conducted a controlled burn at the Eastern 4-H Center at Bulls Bay March 27 to reduce grassy debris buildup and give added protection to nearby homes and other structures. (NCFS photo)

These springtime burns cause many wildfires. With warmer temperatures, gusty springtime winds and low humidity, these fires can escape in seconds. Many of these escaped fires come from someone being careless or failing to keep watch over their fire.

Many people like to burn before a forecasted rain storm. While these weather events bring precipitation and higher humidity, they are often preceded by gusty and erratic winds that can cause fires to escape containment.

Always check the weather forecast before you light a fire to ensure that light winds and higher humidity are expected the day of your burn and for several days after. Residual heat and embers can cause fire to escape days after it is first ignited.

Burn permits are required if the burn is farther than 100 feet of a home, and within 500 feet of any state-protected woodland.

Burn permits can be obtained on the NC Forest Service website, at NC Forest Service county offices, and at several authorized burn permit agents in each county.

Always clear an area of at least a 10-feet around debris burn piles. Only leaves, branches or other plant growth can be burned.

As always, it is illegal to burn garbage, paper and cardboard, tires and rubber, building materials, including lumber, plastics, synthetic materials and any chemicals.

If you have questions about landowner burning, or when good or bad days to burn are, call or stop by. The Forest Service office is at 4195 Hwy 94 South, Columbia, 252-796-5841.