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Wildland fires can be catastrophic for forests but also for homeowners and their property.  Fires are often caused by natural factors, but by far, the largest cause of wildfires is man-related.  Learning about wildfire prevention and what you can do to help will reduce the number of fires.  Preventing forest fires is everyone’s responsibility!  The Northeast Forest Fire Protection Commission's Prevention and Education Working Team (PEWT) offers several ways to take part.  See the Prevention section for more information.


Homeowner's Seasonal Wildfire Safety Tips

With the impending changing of the season, homeowners will soon begin the annual ritual of preparing their homes and yards for the onset of winter. Removing leaves and pine needles from roofs and gutters and away from decks and foundations is a much dreaded but necessary process to increase fire safety around the structure.

Soon, smoke from chimneys will once again become common on cold days and nights as we wait for the first sign of snow in the air. In preparation, homeowners should have their chimneys cleaned and inspected by a professional to ensure that they are ready and safe for use. During this inspection, also ensure that branches within the area are pruned 15' above the chimney and that a spark arrester screen is installed and functional.

As the temperature drops below freezing, armloads of firewood will soon be consumed in fireplaces and woodstoves throughout the region. Outdoor wood boilers which have surged in popularity are commonly used to heat water as well as our homes. Inspect the unit to ensure that the spark arrestors in the stack are working properly.

During this time of year there are several common causes for wildfires. One of the most common ignition sources is the careless disposal of ashes cleaned from wood stoves, outdoor wood boilers and fireplaces. Remember that without snow cover you must be careful when disposing of these potentially hot ashes. Wood ash is surprisingly a very good insulator and live embers can remain hidden and easily ignite a wildfire if not handled properly. Always place ashes in a metal bucket with a lid. Store the bucket away from the struture and be sure to soak the ashes thoroughly with water. Two days later when the ashes are confirmed cold it is safe to bury them in mineral soil.

Homeowners are encouraged to visit the NFPA FIREWISE USA website, the FIRESMART CANADA website and the
READY, SET, GO website for additional recommendations.


This video provided by the Rhode Island Division of Forest Environment, Wildland Fire Control has some great advice in regards to open burning. Please check with your jurisdiction before undertaking any type of outdoor burning to see what is and isn't permitted in your area.