From the tractor by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
It's hard to believe it is now June – the midway point of the year. I have to say it has been a very busy year already and there are plenty more events and activities the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will be involved with in the coming months.
That is especially true at our state's farmers markets. Now is the time when farmers markets across the state get into full swing, hosting special events to highlight seasonal fruits and vegetables. Our state's farmers grow just about everything imaginable, which means you can get the freshest fruits and vegetables available while supporting your local farmers.
I encourage you to check our Marketing website at http://www.ncagr.gov/markets/facilities/index.htm for a list of upcoming activities at the state-operated markets. Just click on the link for the market closest to you.
I hope many of you have heard the N.C. Forest Service's latest public awareness campaign aimed at reducing wildfires. The campaign ran through the middle of May and was paid for by a federal grant.
It is never a bad idea to be reminded to use care when burning debris such as yard waste, since about 40 percent of all preventable wildfires in the state start that way. From January through the beginning of May, there were nearly 1,700 wildfires reported across the state. The investigations have wrapped up on 1,300 of them and it was determined that 522 of those fires were caused by careless burning of debris.
Before you do any burning, it is important to find out whether your local government has restrictions on it. You will also need to get a burn permit from the Forest Service.
Once you have a burn permit, it is important that you do not burn on dry, windy days. A local forest ranger or fire department can advise you if it is safe to burn.
Keep a shovel, water and dirt nearby when you do burn and always have some distance between a burn pile and wooded or grassy areas.
Burning household trash and manmade materials is illegal in North Carolina.
If you see a wildfire, it is always best to call 911. Wildfires can quickly get out of hand and spread, so it is best to let firefighters handle it. You will find more information on fire control and prevention at the www.ncforestservice.gov website.
Be safe and exercise caution whenever you burn. Remember Smokey Bear's message – we are the only ones that can prevent wildfires. Let's protect our great natural areas and forests together.