Forest Rangers and The Presque Isle Fire Department have already responded to a few incidents involving controlled burns this Spring. They say it’s important for someone to properly put out the fire, and it’s the responsibility of the person to understand the hazards and safety measures.
Permits are required for any burn. Rules and details for safety information are printed on that permit. But with rules in hand, the presque isle fire department says they have responded to some incidents this year already.
Fire Prevention Officer Grant Spinney, “Some of the incidents have been burning things that are unlawful, things they shouldn’t be burning. The other issues have been people leaving them unattended. ”
There was a controlled burn on the grass across the parking lot of the Aroostook Center Mall Tuesday. Forest Rangers and fire officials want to emphasize that even in a controlled situation, it’s important to be prepared for an out of control situation.
District Forest Ranger Steve Wipperman, “Just the fire popping or a live coal getting out – it doesn’t take much to ignite the grass especially this time of year.”
Having a fire escape on someone is one of the biggest hazards and that’s why Spinney says you shouldn’t leave a burn unattended or think just splashing water over it is enough.
Spinney, “When you put a fire out you need to put it out completely. That means by completely soaking and saturating the coals, stiring it around with a shovel, or a pick axe, making sure that the fire is out 100 percent completely.”
Having the fire out but still smoking leads to complaints from other residents which Spinney says is another reason it needs to be completely out. And to ensure safety, forest rangers and fire wardens say they’ll always be happy to provide tips and conditions for the day to avoid any accidents.
Whipperman, “The best thing you can do with grass, like what you’re looking at burning here, is to burn after 5 oclock. You should have several people there with tools, you should have rakes and shovels and water.”
Fire officials say burning after 5 is recommended in most towns with volunteer fire departments so that if an accident does occur, there’s a better chance the volunteer crews will be available and ready to respond.
Whipperman, “If you wait till after 5 pm, the relative humidity starts coming up, and the fine fuel moisture starts going up, there’s moisture in the air.”