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Forest Service urges caution with outdoor fires

RUTLAND—The U.S. Forest Service is urging the public to be extremely careful with all types of outdoor fires as temperatures rise and we continue to see drying trends throughout New England. The agency is hoping to educate local and visiting campers about fire safety as the Memorial Day holiday approaches. Increased visitation, lack of precipitation and projected environmental conditions can make wildfires a greater threat.

Fire officials request that people be extremely careful with any outdoor fires, especially over the next several weeks as warmer and dry weather is projected in the forecast. 

Warm afternoon temperatures, low relative humidity and gusty, dry winds encourage the spread of wildfire. Combined with dry, dead grass and fallen branches from last year, it doesn’t take much for a small fire to get out of control. The most common causes of wildfires are escaped debris burns and equipment (machine) caused fires. Most of these fires are caused by people leaving fires unattended and are preventable. Either the fire gets away from them, or they fail to fully extinguish the fire and it rekindles.  

Many Americans believe that lightning starts most wildfires. In fact, nine out of 10 wildfires nationwide are started by humans. 

The U.S. Forest Service is advising the public to check with their local fire warden before burning any brush piles on private property. Burn permits are required for homeowners when burning brush in Vermont. To search for your town’s fire warden, visit

Some helpful wildfire prevention tips include:

  • Always be careful with fire.
  • Douse fires with water, stir the ashes and douse again; a fire isn’t out until it’s dead out.
  • Keep flammable materials such as woodpiles, gas containers, shrubbery, and home fuel sources a minimum of 30 feet away from your home.
  • Clearly identify your home with a house number; keep your roof clear of overhanging trees; and make your driveway, bridge or access road accessible to fire emergency vehicles.
  • Help keep our forests healthy…stop the spreading of invasive insects by not moving firewood. 
  • And “Remember…Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.”

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