Fire officials caution against starting at-home fires as controlled burns continue
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Dry and windy weather conditions across southeastern North Carolina have prompted fire officials to caution against starting fires in your yard. This comes as several controlled burns are scheduled throughout the week.
Crews worked on a controlled burn at Carolina Beach State Park Wednesday. The burn was part of a collaboration with the Women-in-Fire Prescribed Fire Training Exchange. Michelle Ly says the work is necessary to protect the park’s plants and animals.
“This is a first-entry burn. The ecosystem here is longleaf. Longleaf landscapes do really well in fire, it’s a part of their natural ecosystem,” said Ly. “It promotes forest health for a lot of rare and unique plants as well.”
The size of the flames Wednesday is a reminder that they can spread quickly if not supervised. New Hanover County Deputy Fire Marshal David Stone says that lack of supervision is what often leads to disaster.
“You get your pine straw burning in your backyard you go in to get a drink, play with the dog, check on the kids, check some emails, and you just kind of forget that fire is going and then that’s where we see a lot of times that these fires spread to other properties and other yards,” Stone said.
Crews with New Hanover County Fire Rescue responded to a house fire on Lehigh Road Tuesday. Investigators say it sparked because debris burning in the yard was never fully extinguished.
“A lot of our neighborhoods are getting really compact,” said Stone. “Houses are not really spread out like they used to be on acres of land, so it doesn’t take a whole lot for that to spread to another house or somebody else’s yard.”
There are regulations in place that require controlled burns to be at least 500 feet away from any buildings and, of course, professionals are nearby to keep an eye on them.
“There’s a lot of specific weather parameters that go into play to make a burn happen,” said Ly. “You have to look at relative humidity, make sure that’s not too low, temperature, and even the smoke lift. So, making sure that smoke gets carried away from what areas you’re burning.”
New Hanover County is not under a burn ban as of Wednesday.
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