Fire departments and Forest Rangers reminding people about fire safety

Published: May. 18, 2021 at 10:21 PM EDT|Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 10:45 PM EDT
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MASARDIS, Maine (WAGM) - Given the dryer conditions, fire departments and forest rangers are reminding people to be cautious when burning.

“This year so far, we’ve documented somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 fires.”

According to the Maine Forest Service, all zones in the state are currently in the moderate category for wildfire danger. Forest Ranger, Justin Carney says wildfires can stem from a variety of scenarios.

“A vast majority of our fires, wildfires we respond to are manmade. That’s folks burning brush in the backyard, that’s folks burning fields, maybe it’s a carbon deposits coming out of an exhaust pipe,” Carney said. “In addition to that lightning strikes are prevalent. Historically most of our lightning strikes happen end of July-August that time frame. We actually are having them now.”

Carney stresses the importance of only burning proper materials.

“I find a lot of folks can’t resist, they’ll throw that piece of garbage in there or they’ll throw that old mattress or something to that effect,” Carney adds. “That’s going to put up a big red flag in the community and that’s definitely going to put up a red flag when we’re driving by and it’s going to result in prosecution. Really steer clear from that stuff. Just burn only wood and that’s what permits are for and that’s what you’re allowed to burn in Maine.”

In order to burn in Maine, Carney says you must have a burn permit.

“We have laws in place and Rangers are actively checking burn permits. I mean it is the quarantine season, right? There has been an increase in people burning. Just because folks are home and they’re thinking well I can clean up the backyard or rip down that old building. But just know that you need a burn permit.”

For more information on how to acquire a burn permit you can visit the Maine Forest Service website or call your local fire department.

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