Your local Forest Fire Warden, Fire Department, and the State of New Hampshire Division of Forests & Lands, work collaboratively to reduce the risk and frequency of wildland fires in New Hampshire. To help us assist you, please contact your local Forest Fire Warden or Fire Department to determine if a permit is required before doing ANY outside burning. Under State law (RSA 227-L:17) a fire permit is required for all outside burning, unless the ground is completely covered with snow. The ability to obtain fire permits on line was initiated in 2015. Approximately 120 towns participated in the online system with over 4,000 permits issued. To obtain a permit on line visit www.NHfirepermit.com. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services also prohibits the open burning of household waste. Citizens are encouraged to contact the local fire department or DES at 603-271-3503 or www.des.nh.gov for more information. Safe open burning requires diligence and responsibility. Help us to protect New Hampshire’s forest resources. For more information please contact the Division of Forests & Lands at (603) 271-2214, or online at www.nhdfl.org.
This past fire season burned 661 acres which was the most recorded since 1989 when 629 acres burned. The fire season began in early April with the first reported fire occurring on April 8th. The largest fire was the 275 acre Bayle Mountain fire in Ossipee. This fire started on May 5th and burned for several days. The Bayle Mt. fire was also the largest individual fire in NH in over 25 years. There were also a number of other sizable fires in May which definitely kept NH’s wildland firefighting resources stretched to the limit. These larger fires increased the average wildland fire size to 5.12 acres. As usual our higher fire danger days correlated well with the days that there were fires actually reported. The statewide system of 16 fire lookout towers continues to operate on Class III or higher fire danger days. Our fire lookouts are credited with keeping most fires small and saving several structures due to their quick and accurate spotting capabilities. The towers fire spotting capability was supplemented by the NH Civil Air Patrol when the fire danger was especially high. Many homes in New Hampshire are located in the wildland urban interface, which is the area where homes and flammable wildland fuels intermix. Several of the fires during the 2015 season threatened structures, and a few structures were burned, a constant reminder that forest fires burn more than just trees. Homeowners should take measures to prevent a wildland fire from spreading to their home. Precautions include keeping your roof and gutters clear of leaves and pine needles, and maintaining adequate green space around your home free of flammable materials. Additional information and homeowner recommendations are available at www.firewise.org. Please help Smokey Bear, your local fire department, and the state’s Forest Rangers by being fire wise and fire safe!