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CONTACT: Brian R. Haines, public information officer
N.C. Forest Service
(919) 857-4828 (office) or (919) 218-9728 (cell)

Think safety while cleaning up, burning storm debris

RALEIGH — The N.C. Forest Service is urging North Carolinians affected by Hurricane Irene to think about safety and exercise caution while cleaning up storm debris.

“Many residents are burning yard debris and using chain saws,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Emergency workers are working tirelessly to help people recover from Irene, and every wildfire or injury they have to respond to slows down this effort.”

The Forest Service encourages anyone considering burning debris to adhere to the following tips to protect property and prevent wildfires that could detour emergency service workers from the recovery effort:

  • Make sure you have a valid permit. You can obtain a burning permit at any NCFS office or permitting agent, or online at
  • Check with local officials to see whether outside burning is prohibited.
  • Check the weather; don't burn on dry, windy days.
  • Local fire officials can recommend a safe way for burning debris. Don’t pile it on the ground; it should be placed in a screened receptacle in a cleared area, away from overhead branches and wires.
  • Debris should not be accumulated for several days and then ignited. It becomes compacted and wet, increasing air pollution and making the fire burn longer, requiring more watching.
  • Check local laws. Some communities allow debris burning only during specified hours; others forbid it entirely.
  • Consider the alternatives to burning. Some types of debris, such as leaves, grass and stubble, may be of more value if they are not burned.
  • Only burn yard debris. It’s illegal to burn household trash or other manmade items.¬†
  • Be sure you are fully prepared before burning. To control the fire you will need a hose, bucket and a shovel for tossing dirt on the fire.
  • Never use kerosene, gasoline, diesel fuel or other flammable liquids to speed debris burning.
  • Stay with your fire until it is completely out.

If you are not familiar with chain saws, it is recommended that you consult a professional for your tree work. To learn more about proper tree care and tree assessment, proper chain saw methods and the prevention of wildfires, visit the NCFS online at For more information, contact Brian Haines, NCFS public information officer, at (919) 857-4828.


NCDA&CS Public Affairs Division, Brian Long, Director
Mailing Address:1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1001
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3005; FAX: (919) 733-5047

Jobs     |     ¬†Mission Statement     |     Accessibility Statement     |     Disclaimer     |     Privacy Statement
Steve Troxler, Commissioner of Agriculture

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