April 3, 2013
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is reminding residents to be aware of forest fire dangers during the spring fire season. Today’s Forest Fire Danger Level is HIGH and the National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag warning for all of Connecticut from 10AM to 8PM. Any permit to burn brush is not valid when the Forest Fire Danger is rated high, very high, or extreme. Red Flag warnings are issued when winds will be sustained or there will be frequent gusts above a certain threshold (normally 25 mph). In addition, relative humidity needs to be below 30% and precipitation for the previous 5 days has to have been less than 1/4-inch.
“Last year, there were more than 500 reported fires in Connecticut that burned approximately 500 acres,” said DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen. “Residents and municipalities need to know that any permit to burn brush is not valid when the Forest Fire Danger is rated high, very high, or extreme. Fires will be very difficult to control today especially when the winds are gusting over 20 mph this afternoon. Anyone spotting a forest fire should remain calm and dial 911 to report the fire as quickly as possible to the local fire department.”
DEEP’s Division of Forestry constantly monitors the danger of forest fire to help protect Connecticut's 1.8 million acres of forested land. Forest fire danger levels are classified as low, moderate, high, very high or extreme.
Forest Fire Prevention Tips
DEEP encourages residents of Connecticut to protect their families and homes from forest fire by:
- Making a fire safe zone around your house. Clean flammable vegetation and debris from at least 30 feet around the house and any outbuildings; P
- Pruning away the lower limbs of evergreens that are within the fire safe zone. Evergreens catch fire easily during dry periods and burn quickly;
- Removing any limbs which overhang the roof or chimney;
- Regularly removing leaves and needles from gutters;
- Not storing firewood in the fire safe zone;
- Using fire resistant roofing materials;
- Making sure firefighters can find and access your home. Mark your house and roads clearly and prune away limbs and trees along your driveway which do not allow fire truck access;
- Having an escape plan and practicing it;
- Following state and local open burning laws;
- Staying with outside fires until they are completely safe and dead out; and
- Disposing of wood ashes in a metal bucket, soaking them with water before dumping them.
For those who enjoy the use of Connecticut’s parks, forests, and open spaces, use fires with caution and follow these recommendations:
- Obey local laws regarding open fires, including campfires;
- Keep all flammable objects away from fire;
- Have firefighting tools nearby and handy;
- Carefully dispose of hot charcoal;
- Drown all fires;
- Extinguish smoking materials with caution.
For more information on fire safety, contact DEEP’s Forestry Division at (860) 424-3630.