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Planning a Fall Fire?

You want to burn the wood, not the ’hood

      As the air crisps and nature sheds, outdoor fires grow appealing, for purpose and for pleasure. But fire is a mighty element that can get out of your control. Before you light your fire, take the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s advice on staying safe and preserving your home and property.

         “Burning a large pile of brush is not the same as having a small campfire,” says State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci. “The scale of these fires means an increased chance of unintentional spread and flashback, which can cause injury or death.”

         For your safety and your community’s, follow Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ regulations:

         When burning brush and other natural debris, you must ensure:

         • A natural or constructed fire break at least 10 feet wide around the material to be burned that is free of flammable materials. 

         • At least one responsible person remains at the location of the fire until the last spark is out.

         • Equipment on hand to prevent the fire from escaping, including access to water and a shovel with dirt or sand nearby. 

         • The burning follows all local requirements and regulations according to county, city and/or homeowner’s association.

         • Burning occurs only between the hours of 4pm and midnight, except when the ground is covered with snow. If there is snow-covered ground, the burning may occur at any time so long as all other requirements are met.

         Never use an accelerant. A fire started with lighter fluid, gasoline or diesel fuel can leap out of control.

         Wet the ground surrounding the fire. Do not burn on windy days or in dry weather. Do not burn near trees, buildings or other flammable sources.

         Do not burn household trash, tires, roofing material or treated lumber in an open fire.

         Find more information about open-air fire safety: