Connecticut traditionally experiences high forest fire danger in the spring, from mid-March through May, according to a press release from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Fires that start this time of the year tend to burn leaves on the ground and can spread fast. The spring fire season persists until bare trees fully leaf out, normally by mid-May.
"The beautiful weather that we are having means everyone is eager to get outside and now is a wonderful time to experience Connecticut’s great outdoors," said DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette. "It is everyone’s responsibility however, to obey all fire-related rules and safety practices designed to protect our forests and woodlands. In an average year, forest fires scorch approximately 1,000 acres of Connecticut woodlands but they can be prevented."
She offered the following advice.
"If you have a permit to burn brush please know when it is allowed and obey all permit requirements and sound burning practices,"said Deputy Commissioner Frechette. "If you are enjoying the outdoors at a state park or forest always burn your fires in the provided stone or metal fire ring and even in this confined area be sure to douse your fire thoroughly when you are done."
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.
The DEEP reminds all state residents that if they have received a permit from their local open burning official to burn brush on their property, the permit is not valid if the forest fire danger is rated high, very high or extreme and you are burning within 100 feet of a grassland or woodland.
For the daily Forest Fire Danger Level, visit the state DEEP Forest Fire Danger website.
Anyone spotting a forest fire should remain calm and dial 911 to report the fire as quickly as possible to the local fire department.
Local Contacts for Open Burning Permits
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.
- 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 and 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 or visit the DEEP website.