Burning permits banned in Vermont amid dry, warm weather
VERMONT — After a warm, dry weekend and a Red Flag Warning on Monday that ended with more than 25 new reports of wildfires, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) on Tuesday ordered the state’s forest fire wardens to cease issuing burning permits through May 19.
A Red Flag Warning means there are critical fire weather conditions including low relative humidity, high winds with little to no precipitation in the past few days. Fires that ignite during these conditions spread rapidly and with high intensity. The ban may be revoked or extended based upon weather conditions.
“We have received notification from many forest fire wardens that they have stopped issuing permits in their towns,” said Lars Lund, Vermont forest fire supervisor. “This non-burn order supports their efforts.”
This ban is a cooperative effort between FPR and the Green Mountain National Forest.
“We are seeing fast-moving fires burning intensely in difficult terrain and with damage to structures or with structures threatened,” said Lund. “Downed power lines caused the largest fire Monday in Brattleboro due to high winds. While this type of fire can’t be avoided, human-caused fires can be prevented. Because of the warm weather, we know there are a lot of people in the woods.”
Lund stressed that the order is for two weeks, and if significant rain falls anywhere in the state, the order can be revoked by county.
Dead grass, leaves, and brush can become prime fuel for wildland and brushfires, particularly when dried out under sunshine, low relative humidity, and just two or three rain free days in a row. The National Weather Service reports those conditions are expected this coming weekend.
Mid- to late spring is considered the peak fire season in Vermont, with 75 percent of all fires during a given year typically occurring in April and May.
All open burning must have a permit to kindle fire from the town forest fire warden. The fire warden has the right to restrict open burning when fuels and weather conditions may enhance the potential for wildfires. In addition to obtaining a burn permit, you should also clear the area around a pile of all flammable material, never leave the fire unattended, have a hose and tools such as a shovel or rake on hand, burn only natural vegetative material, and call 911 immediately if the fire gets out of control.