FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 5, 2020
Wildfire still a risk in New Hampshire, despite recent rain
Much-needed rainfall received within the last week in New Hampshire has not been enough to significantly decrease the risk of wildfires statewide and officials from the N.H. Forest Protection Bureau and the N.H. Fire Marshal’s Office are reminding everyone to avoid behaviors that can contribute to the start and the spread of wildfires.
The Governor’s proclamation issued on September 24 restricting fires and banning smoking in or near woodlands remains in effect until further notice.
“It is important to note that even with elevated drought conditions persistent statewide, daily fire danger assessments will continue to fluctuate with changing weather conditions,” said Chief Steven Sherman, N.H. Forest Protection Bureau. “This fluctuation – which at times could drop to moderate or even low – should not be interpreted to mean that the effects of drought on wildfire potential have been eliminated.
“Daily fire danger assessments, which the public is most likely to see posted outside of local fire departments, are a rating of the potential for fires to ignite, spread and require suppression action on a given day. The current fire restrictions imposed at the state level must remain in effect to protect the state’s citizens and natural resources until the drought conditions improve reducing the threat of wildfire,” stated Sherman.
“The elements that make fall in New Hampshire so enjoyable – leaves changing, crisp air and dozens of great outdoor activities – unfortunately can all increase the possibility of wildfires,” said N.H. Fire Marshal Paul Parisi. “As we all transition to a new season, one thing that doesn’t change is that every one of us needs to practice good wildfire prevention habits.”
Ninety percent of wildfires in New Hampshire result from human causes.
The Forest Protection Bureau and the Fire Marshal’s Office ask all New Hampshire residents and visitors to make the following adjustments until conditions have improved:
- Consult with your local Forest Fire Warden regarding fire permit requirements, weather conditions and open burning restrictions before kindling a fire;
- Watch for sparks and embers that might be drawn away from your campfire into surrounding grass, leaves or the air;
- Properly dispose of woodstove ash, making sure all materials are completely extinguished and placed in a metal container with a secured lid away from any combustibles;
- Wait until conditions improve and burn permits are being issued before burning any debris from fall yard cleanup;
- Extinguish all smoking materials completely and discard them properly, as the heat from them can start a fire;
- Check with your local fire department before using fireworks;
- Help firefighters by conserving water, including by not watering lawns and gardens, allowing cars to remain unwashed, and refraining from hosing down driveways and sidewalks as well as other uses considered aesthetic.
In New Hampshire, fire permits are required for all open outdoor burning, which includes campfires and bonfires as well as debris fires that commonly occur in the fall. Statewide burn restrictions remain in effect and municipalities may choose to enact additional restrictions. Currently, no permits are being issued via the state’s online fire permit system, nhfirepermit.com.
The N.H. Forest Protection Bureau is part of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ Division of Forests and Lands, which protects and promotes the value provided by trees, forests and natural communities. For more information about the Division of Forests and Lands and the work of its Forest Protection Bureau, visit nh.gov/nhdfl or call 603-271-2214.
The NH Fire Marshal’s Office (NHFMO) is part of the Department of Safety and works to save lives and property through education, engineering and enforcement in relation to fire and life safety. For more information about the NHFMO, visit nh.gov/firesafety or call 603-223-4289.