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This past year we were fortunate enough to have favorable weather conditions in the spring and summer which limited the amount of wildfire activity throughout the state. Your local fire departments and the Division of Forests & Lands worked throughout the year to protect homes and the forests. The statewide system of 16 fire lookout towers continues to operate on high fire danger days. Our fire lookouts are credited with keeping many fires small due to their quick and accurate spotting capabilities. The towers’ fire detection efforts were 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 2018 season threatened structures and one structure was destroyed, a constant reminder that wildfires burn more than just trees. Homeowners should take measures to prevent a wildfire 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 Please help Smokey Bear, your local fire department, and the state’s Forest Rangers by being fire wise and fire safe!

In 2019, we will be recognizing Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday! Dressed in a ranger’s hat, belted blue jeans, and carrying a shovel, he has been the recognized wildfire prevention symbol since 1944. The NH Forest Protection Bureau and local fire departments will be celebrating Smokey Bear’s 75 years of wildfire prevention throughout the year. Smokey’s message has always been about personal responsibility – remember his ABC’s: Always Be Careful with fire. If you start a fire, put it out when you are done. “Remember, Only You Can Prevent Wildfires!”

As we prepare for the 2019 fire season, please remember to contact your local Forest Fire Warden or Fire Department to determine if a fire 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. Fire permits are also available online in most towns and may be obtained by visiting The burning of household waste is prohibited by the Air Resources Division of the Department of Environmental Services (DES). You are encouraged to contact the local fire department or DES at 603-271-3503 or for more information. Safe open burning requires your diligence and responsibility. Thank you for helping 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