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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.


Equipment – a Potential Ignition Source

Various types of large and small equipment are used on Prince Edward Island, Canada for farming and forestry operations. Tractors, combines, hay bailers, trucks, tree harvesters, wood porters, bulldozers, chainsaws, and quads are but a few. A spark, flame or just high heat from equipment can have devastating results when the right fuels and weather conditions are present.

In recent years an overheated bearing in a combine that was harvesting grain ignited a fire which quickly spread into the forest. Mature and dry grains/hay are always a fuel source for a spark or overheated equipment parts. As well a pay-loader in a peat moss operation leaked fluid that caught fire and ignited the peat – luckily local and provincial fire response teams responded quickly and kept the fire from entering the woods or burning deep into the peat bog.

It is essential that equipment be kept in good working order to help prevent fires. A few basic steps can go a long way to mitigate fires caused by equipment - here are an essential few:

  • overhaul all equipment before the field season;
  • clean machines on a regular basis to get rid of any flammable debris (e.g. moss, straw, leaves, woody debris, dust);
  • adhere to an inspection schedule with pre-set dates and times to ensure equipment is looked at on a regular basis;
  • replace worn hoses and fuel lines;
  • replace frayed electrical wiring;
  • install proper spark arresters, and
  • equip your machine with a fully charged fire extinguisher.

  • Climate change has recently changed weather patterns with dryer hotter weather for longer periods of time during the spring, summer, and fall. As such, the fire hazard risk has increased. Keeping equipment in good repair is one important function to help avert an unnecessary fire.

    Be Proactive and Stay Safe Out There!


Rhode Island DEM, Division of Forest Environment, Forest Fire Program recently developed a Firewise Homeowner Assessment form that homeowners can print or fill out online and send directly back to Forest Fire staff. This is a wildland fire risk rating form for homeowners. The rating considers a home’s structural integrity, landscaping and access. The final rating should inform and educate the homeowner how at risk their home and property is to a wildland fire event and what steps they can take to reduce the risk.


The International Wildfire Prevention Workshop will be held virtually Sept 8 – 9, 2021. Please consider registering now. The event is free and will feature a lot of excellent speakers and opportunities to network.

International Wildfire Prevention Workshop Registration, Wed, Sep 8, 2021 at 8:00 AM | Eventbrite