To Reduce the Risk of Wildland Fires During the COVID-19 Emergency, Open Burning is Not Advised
It is strongly advised that the public postpone all outdoor burning through at least May 30, 2020. Open burning creates the risk of an escaped fire and puts pressure on emergency personnel. Vermont is currently experiencing community-wide spread of COVID-19, and needs to minimize additional pressure on emergency personnel both in terms of response and unnecessary contact with people who may have COVID-19.
April and May are historically the most active months for wildland fires in Vermont, and most of these fires occur as a result of escaped debris burns. Postponing open burning until conditions improve will eliminate the need for emergency personnel to respond to an unnecessary event. In cases where written permission for an open burn and a site visit are required through a “Permit to Kindle Fire,” both the permittee and Town Forest Fire Warden are put at an increased risk of exposure to the virus.
Vermont’s Town Forest Fire Wardens have the statutory authority to stop issuing burn permits and many fire wardens throughout the state have taken this precautionary step. If you contact your local Town Forest Fire Warden please be considerate and patient when assessing the need to conduct any open burning.
The Vermont Wildland Fire Program appreciates the public’s support in fire prevention and reducing the need for unnecessary emergency response during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wildland Fire - Think Before You Burn
The term “wildland fire” includes all grass, brush, and forest fires. Each year Vermont experiences many wildland fires during its two primary fire seasons, spring and fall. Burning debris is the most common cause of wildland fires in Vermont. To help prevent forest fires, Town Forest Fire Wardens issue burn permits and engage the public in fire education.
Fire assistance is provided to protect people, property, and natural resources from uncontrolled wildfire events in rural Vermont by working with Town Forest Fire Wardens, regional partners in the Northeast Forest Fire Protection Commission, and federal agencies. By request, we provide technical support and specialized forest firefighting equipment to assist towns in suppressing large or difficult wildfires.
Training courses are presented by Forest Protection Specialists to town firefighters and other fire service organizations in cooperation with the Vermont Fire Academy and the US Forest Service.