08 November 2017

Winter Burning Tips - Wildfire Season Over

Posted in News Releases

How to safely and responsibly burn brush and debris.

Winter Burning Tips - Wildfire Season Over

Wildfire Season officially ended on October 31st. Permits for Burning are no longer required however landowners should use caution and good judgement when burning.

As Wildfire Season ends and fire permits are no longer required many landowners take this opportunity to burn brush and debris from land clearing and property cleanup. While this is an effective way of disposing of debris, it must be done safely and responsibly. 

Landowners are legally responsible for the safety of their burns whether a permit is required or not. It is important to consider smoke travel and how it may affect your neighbors comfort and safety. Remember smoke can cause a significant traffic hazard on nearby roads and highways.

 

Brush pile burning

 

  • Burn when there is snow cover and the ground is frozen.
  • Never burn when winds are greater than 12 km per hour.
  • Avoid building piles in muskeg areas.
  • Set only the fires that can be controlled at all times by available manpower and equipment.
  • Ensure that piles are at least 25 meters from trees and structures.
  • Build a 15 meter wide bare mineral soil guard around all windrows.

Land clearing

  • Burn when there is snow cover and the ground is frozen.
  • Never burn when winds are greater than 12 km per hour.
  • Set only the fires that can be controlled at all times by available manpower and equipment.
  • Use a brush rake or excavator to build piles.
  • Eliminate dirt from the roots, and pack the windrows as tight as possible.
  • Build windrows across the direction of the prevailing winds.
  • Ensure that windrows are not longer than 60 meters.
  • Ensure that there is at least an 8 meter break between windrows.
  • Ensure that all windrows are at least 25 meters from trees and structures.
  • Build a 15 meter wide bare mineral soil guard around all windrows.

 

Extinguishing Piles and Windrows

 

  • Check on burning frequently.
  • Re-pile unburnt and burn again.
  • Before spring, go back and check your winter burns. A fire can burn under the snow all winter long, only to come back to life on a windy spring day. Go back and extinguish any hotspots.
  • Walk the burn area.
  • Roll the debris over to check for hotspots.
  • Probe the burned area to ensure there are no smoldering fires in the ground.
  • Stir the debris and water down hot spots.

A wildfire at this time of year is 100 per cent preventable. Most if not all of the wildfires we see at this time of year are human-caused. Human-caused wildfires are 100 per cent preventable. Please do your part to prevent wildfires!

Underground Holdover Fires

While the risk of starting a wildfire maybe low, holdover fires can happen. Holdover fires or ground fires often start during the fall and winter months as a result of improperly extinguished fires. This type of fire burns without smoke or flame and smolders underground over the winter.

In the spring as snow melts and dry fuels become abundant, a little windy weather can set ablaze early in the wildfire season.

To avoid accidentally starting a holdover fire, it's important to check all burn areas to ensure they are out. To properly extinguish a fire, completely soak the area with water, stir up the ashes and soak the area again. Always check for hot spots around your fall and winter burn sites. Feel for heat in the spring and times of dry windy weather.

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