It doesn’t take long once the snow begins to melt for fire danger to rapidly increase even after a cool and wet winter. The persistent spring wind only serves to further dry vegetation and literally provides more fuel for the fire. A wind-whipped fire in quick-burning dormant vegetation can cause a burn to easily become uncontrollable.
It is common for calm morning wind to give way to gusty wind around the midday hours during the spring months. A weather forecast of how and when the wind speed and direction may change during the day can mean the difference between a successful burn and having an animated discussion with your local authorities.
Please read through and follow the below tips before conducting a burn.
Tips for Conducting a Safe Burn
Check the Fire Danger Rating. It is critical that you verify the current rating and local burn bans/restrictions BEFORE burning. Information about current fire danger ratings is available through the ND Department of Emergency Services or National Weather Service . The weather can play a pivotal role in whether your burn is successful or not. For more information on fire danger ratings please read the ND Fire Danger Guide.
Call the Local Authorities – your local fire department and the Red River Regional Dispatch Center (701-451-7660). By calling the authorities first you ensure that your burn is legal and that it is not taxing resources unnecessarily. The local sheriff and your local fire department do not want to field calls about your burn and have them turn into a false alarm. In addition, you may have to obtain a burning permit.
Plan Before Burning.
Talk to your Neighbors. Let them know your plans, as a matter of safety and courtesy.
Establish Firebreaks. Create firebreaks by raking or plowing around the area that you would like to burn. Keep that area free of vegetation and wide enough to protect what you don't want damaged outside the burn area.
Ready Water and Equipment. Have a reliable water source available. Line up your hand tools such as rakes and shovels in advance and have them readily available for all participants.
Begin with the areas that pose the greatest threat of becoming difficult to control. By beginning here, your fire is at its smallest size when it enters the highest fuel loads.
Always try and burn into the wind, this slows the rate of spread and makes the fire easier to control.
Control the Fire!
Stay with the fire at all times. You may be liable for damage caused by your fire.
Have plenty of helpers on hand. More people helping = more control
Keep debris piles small. Large piles generate enough heat to damage nearby trees, power lines, and structures
Do not hesitate to call 911 if the fire gets out of hand. The longer you wait, the bigger the fire will be when help does arrive!
When finished, ensure that the fire is completely out. Numerous fires break out each year when smoldering areas are left behind. Make sure that your fire is out cold.