Tuesday, March 26, 2019


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It’s Not Just a Burning

            Field and brush fires in our area over the past few days must serve as a reminder to all that, despite the cold and snow of April 2018, Spring is here and carelessness will lead to trouble.

            April is usually the worst month for brush and field fires.  The lateness of this year's springtime weather has added to the problem. 

            When the snow and cold ebbs, and before new growth emerges, last year's dead grass, leaves and wood are dangerous tinder.  Spring winds also tend to be stronger and more unpredictable during April.

            Last week's incidents brought into service dozens of fire trucks and scores of volunteer firefighters.  Only their quick action and dedicated service kept the fires from turning into disasters.

            Residents need to know the laws regarding open-burning in their municipalities.  Those laws are on the books for a reason – the safety of everyone.

            Many municipalities in our area don't allow open-burnings and others regulate it.  Before you light that fire, make sure you know the laws of your town.

            Another cause of brush, field, and forest fires that has become more prevalent in our area is sparks shooting from passing All-Terrain-Vehicles (ATV) driving through vulnerable areas.  .

            The ATV driver may not even be aware of fire ignited by his ride, leaving the blaze time to grow before it's discovered.

            Everyone needs to exercise common sense.  Abide by the laws – they exist for a reason and it's your responsibility to know them. Never burn close to any building. If it's windy or dry don't light that fire and keep your ATV on the road, not off it.

            Never use gasoline, kerosene or any other flammable liquid to start the fire.  Do not leave a fire unattended.  Never burn under power lines.  Have fire extinguishment items on hand, including a water supply, shovels and rakes.  Be prepared to extinguish your fire if the winds pick up.

            Most important, never delay a call for help.  Call 911 at the first sign of the fire getting out of control. 

            Serious health effects can be caused by harmful chemicals from burning items commonly found in household and construction trash.

            Before you ignite your fire, consider the health of your neighbors and yourself.  Smoke from burning household trash, including plastic containers, is more toxic than the smoke from burning clean wood. Many studies have found dioxins, arsenic, mercury, chromium, PCBs, lead, and other dangerous chemicals in smoke from burning household trash.

            Many construction materials release harmful chemicals when burned such as asbestos, heavy metals, and dioxins. Never burn asphalt shingles, gypsum board (drywall), painted, glued or treated wood, insulation or vinyl siding.  Think – if it's man-made, don't burn it.

            Protecting your health, and of those around you, is worth the small fee for proper waste disposal.   Besides, many of the items listed above are probably prohibited from being burned in your municipality.  Again, it's your responsibility to know the laws.

            You may think it's no big deal, but field and brush fires are a serious threat to life and property.  

            It's not just a burning.





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