Sky Valley Scaly Mountain Volunteer Firefighter Badge House set on fire for training training.


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N.C. Forest Service urging residents to know when, where and how to safely burn outdoors

RALEIGH – 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. 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 recommends the following tips:

To learn more about fire safety and preventing wildfires and loss of property, refer to Fire Safety Outdoors. For information about creating defensible space and a fire-resistant landscape around your home and property, visit Contact information for county rangers with the N.C. Forest Service is available online at

Safe disposal of wood fire ash is an often-overlooked fire prevention measure. Hot coals can survive for days buried in white ash, and their red glow is often not visible in daylight. When cleaning out a fireplace, wood stove, smoker, etc., that has been used within the last week, ashes should be moved to a metal bucket and water added to the bucket until the ash and water can be stirred like a soup. Yes, this is messy and a nuisance, but not nearly so much a nuisance as extinguishing a brush fire, making repairs to a building, or worse...