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News & Information

Newsdesk - 2011

Community invited to discuss management plan for DuPont State Recreational Forest Nov. 3
October 25, 2011

HENDERSONVILLE – The public is invited to discuss and comment on the recently completed Land and Resource Management Plan for DuPont State Recreational Forest on Thursday, Nov. 3.

N.C. Forest Service staff will conduct the community meeting at 6 p.m. at the Henderson County Public Library, 301 N. Washington St. Brian Schneider, management forester at DSRF, will explain the planning process and provide an overview of the plan as it relates to the management of natural communities, wildlife habitat and recreation.

Earlier this year, the General Assembly designated DuPont as a "state recreational forest." Topics of discussion at the meeting will include how that new designation will affect current and future projects involving recreation, invasive species control, prescribed burning and timber harvesting. "Meeting participants are encouraged to ask questions and offer comments regarding the current and future management of the forest," said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.

For more information about the meeting, contact Schneider at 828-877-6527.

Take steps to prevent wildfires during fall fire season
October 6, 2011

RALEIGH — Nine out of 10 wildfires in the United States are started by humans, and Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 9-15, is a reminder that we need to be extremely careful during this very dry time.

The N.C. Forest Service and U.S. Forest Service are urging residents throughout the state to keep safety in mind and exercise caution during the upcoming fall wildfire season that typically lasts from mid-October until mid-December.

"In the fall, people do a lot of yard work that often includes burning leaves and yard debris,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “In North Carolina, more than 40 percent of all wildfires are caused by careless debris burning, making it the No. 1 cause of wildfires in the state. Private landowners who cause wildfires may be liable for fire-suppression costs on state and national forest land if a fire originates on their property."

There are many factors to consider before burning debris. The N.C. Forest Service encourages people considering burning debris to contact their county forest ranger. The forest ranger can offer technical advice and explain what the best options are to help maximize the safety to people, property and the forest.

For people who choose to burn debris, the Forest Service offers the following tips to protect property and prevent wildfires:

  • Always consider alternatives to burning.
  • Obtain a burning permit at an NCFS office or online at http://ncforestservice.gov.
  • Check the weather – don’t burn on dry, windy days.
  • Know your local burning laws.
  • Be prepared with water, a shovel and phone.
  • Stay with your fire until it is completely out.

Studies have shown that taking these and other measures can greatly reduce wildfires and the loss of property associated with them.

For more information on preventing wildfires, go to www.smokeybear.com, http://ncforestservice.gov, or contact Brian Haines, public information officer with the N.C. Forest Service, at (919) 857-4828.

Also, take time now to prepare your home against wildfires. Tips on protecting your property can be found at www.firewise.org.

U.S. Forest Service fire prevention information is available online at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/fireprevention/index.php. Contact Stevin Westcott, public affairs officer with the U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina, at (828) 257-4215 for more information.

Remember … only YOU can prevent wildfires.

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Winners of Urban Forestry Awards announced
September 12, 2011

RALEIGH — The N.C. Forest Service announces the winners of the 2011 North Carolina Urban Forestry Awards.

The annual program rewards cities, towns, organizations, businesses and individuals for outstanding work to protect and enhance community forests and raise awareness about the importance of urban forestry projects.

The N.C. Forest Service announces winners in the following award categories:

  • Outstanding Project Grand Award: Town of Garner White Deer Park
  • Outstanding Project Merit Award: Town of Chapel Hill Tree Protection Ordinance
  • Outstanding Individual Grand Award: J. Robert Curry of Pine Knoll Shores
  • Outstanding Tree Board or Urban Forestry Committee Grand Award: Town of Matthews Appearance & Tree Commission
  • Tree City of the Year: City of Gastonia

Winners were selected by a panel that included N.C. Forest Service’s urban forestry staff and members of the North Carolina Urban Forest Council. Entries were judged for impact, quality, innovation and the degree to which the work serves as a worthy example for others to follow. The winners may also be nominated for the National Arbor Day Awards program.

"I am very pleased with the response we have received to the awards program," says Jennifer Rall, urban forestry program assistant and administrator of the awards program. "The judging committee did not have an easy time deciding on winners. All of the nominees showed a true passion and dedication to advancing urban forestry in their communities."

Award recipients will be recognized at the N.C. Urban Forest Council’s 2011 Annual Conference Awards Banquet on Sept. 13 at the Blake Hotel, 555 S. McDowell St., Charlotte. For more information, contact Jennifer Rall at (919) 857-4849 or download an application from the N.C. Forest Service website, www.ncforestservice.gov.

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Think safety while cleaning up, burning storm debris
September 1, 2011

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 http://ncforestservice.gov.
  • 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 http://ncforestservice.gov. For more information, contact Brian Haines, NCFS public information officer, at (919) 857-4828.

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Smokey Bear celebrates his 67th birthday
August 9, 2011

RALEIGH – Smokey Bear knows that the potential for wildfires is always present, so even as he celebrates his 67th birthday today, he is still working hard to get the message out that "Only You Can Prevent Wildfires."

Smokey Bear has been a symbol of fire safety and fire prevention since 1944. The purpose of the Smokey campaign is to create and maintain public awareness about the need to prevent wildfires.

"This has been an especially active fire season, and N.C. Forest Service crews continue to mop up and monitor more than 40 wildfires in the eastern portion of the state," said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "Typically, we have two fire seasons in North Carolina – March to the end of May and September to mid-October – but this year there has been no real break between the seasons."

North Carolina has 18.7 million acres of forestland, making it one of Smokey Bear’s biggest concerns, especially during this extended dry period the state has been going through. As fall fire season approaches, the likelihood of wildfires occurring increases exponentially.

"It is important that everyone is particularly mindful about potential wildfire risks and be careful when burning as we enter fall," said Wib Owen, N.C. state forester. "Just three of the fires we have been working on burned a total of more than 81,500 acres. Let’s all do our part to prevent any more devastating fires."

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Forest Service lifts burn ban in eastern N.C.
August 8, 2011

RALEIGH — Recent rains over the southeastern part of the state have allowed the North Carolina Forest Service to lift its ban on open burning for the following counties: Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Dare, Duplin, Hyde, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, Tyrrell and Washington. The ban will be lifted Monday, Aug. 8, at 5 p.m.

"While recent rainfall has reduced fire danger, the state is still facing drought conditions," said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "If the drought continues and there is an increase in the number of wildfires, the ban on open burning could be reinstated."

Forest Service authorities are issuing burning permits again. If people are going to burn, they should take precautions because fires can still escape, causing catastrophic disasters.

Based on North Carolina’s open burning laws, the Forest Service offers these tips to landowners:

  • Make sure you have an approved burning permit. You can obtain a burning permit at any N.C. Forest Service office, a county-approved burning permit agent, or online at http://ncforestservice.gov.
  • Check with your county fire marshal’s office for local laws on burning debris. Some communities allow burning only during specified hours; others forbid it entirely.
  • Check the weather. Don’t burn if conditions are dry or windy.
  • Consider alternatives to burning. Some yard debris such as leaves and grass may be more valuable if composted.
  • Only burn natural vegetation from your property. Burning household trash or any other man-made materials is illegal.
  • Trash should be hauled away to a convenience center.
  • Plan burning for the late afternoon when conditions are typically less windy and more humid.
  • If you must burn, be prepared. Use a shovel or hoe to clear a perimeter around the area around where you plan to burn.
  • Keep fire tools ready. To control the fire, you will need a hose, bucket, a steel rake and a shovel for tossing dirt on the fire.
  • Never use flammable liquids such as kerosene, gasoline or diesel fuel to speed debris burning.
  • Stay with your fire until it is completely out. In North Carolina, human carelessness leads to more wildfires than any other cause. In fact, debris burning is the No. 1 cause of wildfires in North Carolina.

For more information, contact Brian R. Haines, public information officer with the N.C. Forest Service, (919) 857-4828, or your county ranger.

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Burn ban remains in effect for all or part of 19 counties
July 28, 2011

Area of burning ban

RALEIGH – The N.C. Forest Service wants to remind people that the ban on open burning put in place June 22 remains in effect until further notice for the following counties: Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Dare, Duplin, Hyde, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Sampson, Tyrrell and Washington. The ban also includes areas of Cumberland and Robeson counties east of Interstate 95.

The decision to keep the burn ban in place is based on the current fire and drought conditions in the southeastern portion of the state. The N.C. Forest Service is currently working on the mop up and monitoring of more than 40 wildfires in eastern North Carolina. These wildfires require a great deal of resources to ensure they stay within containment lines, reducing the number of resources available for initial attack on new fires.

By North Carolina law, the ban prohibits all open burning in these areas, regardless of whether a permit was issued. The open burning ban means that all burning is prohibited if it is 100 feet or more from an occupied dwelling such as a home or residence. Many counties are imposing local ordinances prohibiting burning within that 100 feet, so residents should call their local fire marshal before engaging in any burning activities. The issuance of any new burn permits in the areas affected by the ban has been suspended until the ban is lifted.

People in violation of the burn ban will be assessed a $100 fine plus court costs and are at risk of violating air quality regulations and possible local ordinances. Outdoor burning is also discouraged in areas covered by Code Orange or Code Red air quality forecasts.

Residents in areas where there is no ban on open burning should be careful if they decide to burn pine straw, leaves or other yard debris. In all cases, it is illegal to burn trash, lumber, tires, newspapers, plastics or other non-vegetative materials.

Drought conditions across the state are drying forest fuels and could create hazardous burning conditions. State authorities could impose a ban on open burning on other areas if the drought and increased wildfire activity persists.

The best solution for combating these wildfires is a good soaking rain. Until that time, the N.C. Forest Service will continue to battle existing fires and any new ones through careful management of resources.

For more information, contact Brian Haines, public information officer with the N.C. Forest Service, at (919) 857-4828.

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N.C. Forest Service lifts ban on open burning in 10 eastern counties
Ban remains in effect for all or part of 19 counties
July 12, 2011

RALEIGH - The ban on open burning put in place June 22 is canceled for the following counties: Edgecombe, Greene, Harnett, Johnston, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, Pitt, Wayne and Wilson. The cancellation took effect July 12 at 8 a.m., and burn permits may be issued again in these counties.

Recent rainfall has reduced fire danger. However, residents should be careful if they decide to burn pine straw, leaves and other yard debris. High winds coupled with quickly-drying forest fuels can create hazardous burning conditions. State authorities could reinstate the ban on open burning if the drought and increased wildfire activity persists.

The N.C. Forest Service wants to remind people that the ban on open burning remains in effect until further notice for the following counties: Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Dare, Duplin, Hyde, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Sampson, Tyrrell and Washington.

The ban also includes parts of Cumberland and Robeson counties east of Interstate 95.

By North Carolina law, the ban prohibits all open burning in these areas, regardless of whether a permit was issued. The open burning ban means that all burning is prohibited if it is 100 feet or more from an occupied dwelling such as a home or residence.

Many counties are imposing local ordinances prohibiting burning within that 100 feet, so residents should call their local fire marshal before engaging in any burning activities.

Open burning includes burning leaves, branches and other plant material. In all cases, it is illegal to burn trash, lumber, tires, newspapers, plastics or other non-vegetative materials.

People in violation of the burn ban will be assessed a $100 fine plus court costs and are at risk of violating air quality regulations and possible local ordinances. Outdoor burning is also prohibited in areas covered by Code Orange or Code Red air quality forecasts.

The issuance of any new burn permits in the areas affected by the ban has been suspended until the ban is lifted. For more information, contact Brian Haines, public information officer with the N.C. Forest Service, at (919) 857-4828.

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State bans open burning, cancels permits in part of eastern NC
June 22, 2011

[Note: Two counties were inadvertently left off the list of those with burning bans and permit cancellations; Harnett and Lenoir. We apologize for any confusion. The total number of affected counties is 29.]

RALEIGH - N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Dee Freeman banned open burning and canceled all burning permits effective at 6 p.m. today for 27 eastern North Carolina counties, including areas south of U.S. 64 and east of Interstate 95.

The ban on open burning will be in effect until further notice for the following counties: Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Greene, Hyde, Johnson, Jones, Martin, Nash, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Tyrrell, Washington, Wayne and Wilson.

State authorities say the open burning ban is necessary because of drought conditions and an increase in wildfire activity in coastal North Carolina. Firefighters and others are battling large wildfires in Dare, Bladen and Pender counties. Much of the rest of the state is dry, but periodic rainfall has helped reduce fire activity in those areas.

By North Carolina law, the ban prohibits all open burning in these areas, regardless of whether a permit was issued. Open burning includes burning leaves, branches and other plant material. In all cases, it is illegal to burn trash, lumber, tires, newspapers, plastics or other non-vegetative materials.

The ban will be enforced by local law enforcement agents, county fire marshals and the N.C. Forest Service.

The open burning ban means all burning is prohibited if it is 100 feet or more from a home or residence that someone lives in.

For more information, people are asked to contact a county ranger with the N.C. Forest Service, the local county fire marshal's office or Brian Haines, public information officer with the Forest Service, at (919) 857-4828 or (919) 218-9728.

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Smoke from large wildfire prompts cautionary message from state forestry officials
May 12, 2011

RALEIGH - The N.C. Forest Service is encouraging landowners to use caution before burning limbs, leaves and other yard debris during the busiest season for wildfires.

The impacts from wildfires can be widespread, as evidenced by the 22,000-acre Pains Bay Fire burning in Hyde and Dare counties. Smoke from that fire has inundated large parts of eastern and central North Carolina, prompting officials with the N.C. Division of Air Quality to alert sensitive people to reduce their outdoor activities until the smoke subsides. The latest information on the Pains Bay Fire, which is now one of the nation's largest wildfires burning, can be found at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2218/.

Spring fire season typically ends in late May. Until then, officials with the state Forest Service have a few tips for people considering burning their limbs, downed trees or leaves. To protect property and prevent wildfires:

  • Make sure you have a valid open burning permit. You can obtain a burning permit at any N.C. Forest Service office or authorized permitting agent or online at http://NCFS.nc.gov/.
  • Check the weather and don't burn on dry, windy days.
  • Local fire officials can recommend a safe way to burn debris. Don't pile vegetation on the ground. Instead, it should be placed in a cleared area and contained in a screened receptacle, away from overhead branches and wires.
  • Consider the alternatives to burning. Leaves, grass and stubble may be of more value if they are not burned, but used for mulch instead.
  • 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.

Studies have shown that adhering to these and other measures can reduce the possibility of wildfires.

For more information, go to http://NCFS.nc.gov/, or contact Brian Haines, public information officer with the N.C. Forest Service, at (919) 857-4828.

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State offers safety tips for post-storm tree inspections
April 18, 2011

RALEIGH — The N.C. Forest Service is encouraging people to be safe by inspecting their trees for damage after this weekend's storms. State emergency management officials are reporting that severe storms brought heavy rain, hail, damaging winds, flooding and tornadoes to North Carolina Saturday afternoon.

Although your trees may look severely damaged, restorative pruning and care may increase the chance of your trees regaining their original health and beauty. If the basic structure of your trees is intact, it may be in your best interest to save the tree.

Damaged trees should be inspected by a tree care professional. Hiring a reputable tree care service with a certified arborist is the best solution to professionally restore, maintain and prevent future damage to your trees.

Most tree work should be done only by those trained and equipped to work safely in trees. Arborists are knowledgeable about the needs of trees and are trained and equipped to provide proper care. Local tree companies will often note their professional affiliation in their yellow pages advertisement. To learn more about certified arborists in your area, visit the International Society of Arboriculture at www.treesaregood.com, the American Society of Consulting Arborists at www.asca-consultants.org, or the Tree Care Industry Association at www.treecareindustry.org.

Tree topping is not a viable solution to storm damage recovery or prevention. The sprouts that occur after topping are fast-growing, weakly-attached branches that are more likely to break off in a future storm.

If you choose to do the clean up yourself, you should work with a partner, particularly when operating equipment such as chainsaws. If you are not familiar with chainsaws, you should consult a professional for your tree work. If you use a chainsaw, follow these guidelines:

  • Work only on the ground and always use personal protective equipment such as a hard hat, eye protection, chainsaw chaps and appropriate footwear.
  • Keep both hands on the chainsaw handle at all times.
  • Use caution when cutting with the tip of the chainsaw to avoid kickback.
  • Cut at waist level or below.
  • Before any work begins, survey the site for hazards such as downed electrical wires, leaning trees or broken limbs hanging in the canopy.
  • If electrical wires are an issue, do not attempt the tree work. Contact your utility company and let them remove the electrical wires.
  • Visit http://www.wildfirelessons.net/documents/6MFS_ChainsawSafety.pdf for more information on chainsaw safety.

For advice on proper tree care and tree assessment following a storm, contact your county Forest Service office. You can also find more information by logging on to http://NCFS.nc.gov/ and following the links to "Why Hire an Arborist" under the Urban and Community Forestry heading.

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Beetle brings tree-killing Laurel Wilt disease to North Carolina
April 15, 2011

RALEIGH — The redbay ambrosia beetle, which carries a fungus that suffocates redbay and other plants in the Laurel family, has been found in North Carolina, according to the N.C. Forest Service and N.C. State University.

Officials with the state Forest Service and N.C. State University say Laurel Wilt, the disease caused by the fungus, has been found in Bladen, Columbus, Sampson and Pender counties.

The fungus has been known to cause widespread damage to Laurel tree species, which support a diverse amount of wildlife. In North Carolina, sassafras, pondberry, pondspice, swampbay and spicebush, are in the Laurel Family and could be affected by this disease. However, Mountain Laurel is not among the affected tree species.

"The disease is believed to travel about 20 miles per year naturally, but can spread more quickly when fungus-carrying beetles are moved in wood to new areas," said Ryan Blaedow, forest pest control specialist with the N.C. Forest Service.

Landowners with dead redbay trees are encouraged to keep cut trees on their property. Proper disposal of redbay includes leaving wood on-site or cutting, chipping or burning wood on-site in compliance with state laws and local ordinances. Dead trees should not be taken off-site or used as firewood. If landowners find dead redbays, or other trees in the Laurel family, they should report these findings to new.threat@ncagr.gov.

The female redbay ambrosia beetle bores through the bark of the tree to lay eggs and carries the Laurel Wilt fungus in her mouthparts. The fungal spores spread quickly through the bark and block the movement of water from the tree roots, causing the tree to wilt and die, usually within a few months. Before they wilt and die, trees with Laurel Wilt will droop and have red or purple foliage.

The fungus was first discovered in Georgia in 2002. Officials believe the fungus associated with the beetle arrived in the United States along with the red ambrosia beetle in wooden crating material from Southeast Asia. Laurel Wilt has been identified in dozens of counties in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

For more information, call Blaedow at (919) 609-1556 or log onto http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/foresthealth/laurelwilt/index.shtml.

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State officials; don't burn outdoors today or tomorrow in North Carolina
March 23, 2011

RALEIGH — People should not burn outdoors today and tomorrow because high winds and dry air have increased the risk of wildfires in North Carolina, according to the National Weather Service and the N.C. Forest Service.

The agencies have issued red flag warnings or fire danger statements for most of the state for Wednesday.

The more severe of the two statements, a red flag warning, means that critical fire weather conditions are occurring or will occur shortly. Strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will create high fire growth potential. Parts of North Carolina will have sustained winds between 15 mph and 35 mph, with possible gusts more than 50 mph.

Instead of burning outdoors, people should compost their brush piles or leave them until the state receives a soaking rainfall, state officials said Wednesday.

For wildfire information, please view the N.C. Forest Service’ web page, http://NCFS.nc.gov/fire_control/sit_report.htm.

For more information, contact Brian Haines, public information officer with the N.C. Forest Service, at (919) 857-4828.

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Fifth grade student wins North Carolina Arbor Day Poster Contest
March 16, 2011

RALEIGH — Emma Little, a fifth grader at Conn Elementary Magnet School in Raleigh, has won North Carolina's 2011 Arbor Day Poster Contest.

Emma will be presented with a $250 savings bond from the N.C. Forestry Association for her poster. Her poster was designed around the contest theme "Trees Are Terrific...in All Shapes and Sizes!"

Emma will receive her award at an Arbor Day celebration ceremony at noon March 19 at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh. Her teacher, Gretchen Phillips, will receive $200 for school supplies from Duke Energy.

The N.C. Forest Service, which coordinates the Arbor Day event and the poster contest for North Carolina, will also honor two runners-up in the poster contest. The runners-up are Isha Arora, of Durham Academy Middle School, and Calvin Nguyen, of North Forest Pines Elementary, in Raleigh.

The N.C. Arbor Day Poster Contest is open to fifth grade students in public, private and home schools. The contest has been held since 1992 to promote the importance of Arbor Day and tree planting. For more information, contact Jennifer Rall, North Carolina's poster contest coordinator, at (919) 857-4849.

A copy of Little's poster can be found at http://NCFS.nc.gov/Urban/arbor_day_poster_contest.htm.

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Recent wildfires in North Carolina highlight home protection program
February 28, 2011

RALEIGH — State officials say the number of homes destroyed by wildfires in recent weeks underscores the importance of using landscaping and other techniques to better protect homes from wildfires.

Wildfires have destroyed six homes since Feb. 14, and threatened more than 2,900 homes. The damage could have been far worse if not for the efforts of state and local firefighters.

For that reason, officials with the N.C. Forest Service are speaking with communities about the North Carolina Firewise Program. Firewise Communities/USA provides people with tips about landscaping around homes as well as creating areas in neighborhoods that are easily accessible by emergency vehicles.

Communities meet with an expert such as a county ranger and come up with a plan to remove fire hazards and create defensible space around homes. These techniques can be put in place in new or old communities.

Recommendations for creating a Firewise Community include removing the vegetation that serves as a link between grass and tree tops that can carry fire to a structure. Anything planted near homes should be low-flammability vegetation such as red chokeberry. Trees should be well spaced. Natural areas should be selectively pruned and thinned. Highly flammable vegetation such as American Holly should be removed.

Homeowners and developers should also use construction materials that are fire-resistant or non-combustible materials such as metal roofing. Other suggestions for making your home Firewise include:

  • Clearing dead wood and dense vegetation 30 feet from your home.
  • Keeping gutters, eaves and roofs clear of leaves and other debris.
  • Maintaining a driveway wide enough for fire engines to access.
  • Regularly inspecting the home to look for deterioration such as spaces between roof tiles, warping wood or cracks and crevices in the structure.
  • Moving firewood away from the home or fences and decks.
  • Using metal when constructing a trellis and covering it with vegetation that contains moisture.
  • Not allowing combustible materials and debris to accumulate beneath patio decks or elevated porches.

For more information, go to www.ncfirewise.org or the national website, www.firewise.org, or contact Brian R. Haines, public information officer with the N.C. Forest Service, at (919) 857-4828.

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State Officials: Don't burn outdoors today or tomorrow in North Carolina
February 18, 2011

RALEIGH - People should not burn outdoors today and tomorrow because high winds and dry air have increased the risk of wildfires in North Carolina, according to the National Weather Service and the N.C. Forest Service.

The agencies have issued red flag warnings or fire danger statements for the entire state on Saturday.

The more severe of the two statements, a red flag warning, means that critical fire weather conditions are occurring or will occur shortly. Strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will create high fire growth potential. Parts of North Carolina will have sustained winds between 15 mph and 35 mph, with possible gusts more than 50 mph.

State officials say residents should not to conduct outdoor burning. Instead, people should compost their brush piles or leave them until the state receives a soaking rainfall.

For more information, contact Brian Haines, public information officer with the N.C. Forest Service, at (919) 218-9728.

For wildfire information, please view the N.C. Forest Service' web page, http://www.NCFS.state.nc.us/fire_control/fire_control.htm. The fire weather report can be found on the National Weather Service's website, www.nws.noaa.gov.

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State: Don't burn outdoors today in North Carolina
February 14, 2011

RALEIGH — People should not burn outdoors today because high winds and dry air have increased the risk of wildfires in North Carolina today, according to the National Weather Service and the N.C. Forest Service.

The National Weather Service and the N.C. Forest Service issued red flag warnings or fire danger statements in the entire state.

The more severe of the two statements, a red flag warning, means that critical fire weather conditions are occurring or will occur shortly. Strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will create high fire growth potential. Parts of North Carolina will have sustained winds between 15 mph and 35 mph, with possible gusts more than 50 mph.

State officials say residents should not to conduct outdoor burning. Instead, people should compost their brush piles or leave them until the state receives a soaking rainfall.

For more information, contact Brian Haines, public information officer with the N.C. Forest Service, at (919) 857-4828.

For wildfire information, check out the N.C. Forest Service web page http://www.NCFS.state.nc.us/fire_control/fire_control.htm. The fire weather report is on the National Weather Service's website, www.nws.noaa.gov.

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Governor Perdue proclaims February 7-13 Prescribed Fire Awareness Week
February 7, 2011

RALEIGH — Gov. Bev Perdue has proclaimed Feb. 7-13 "Prescribed Fire Awareness Week" to educate people about how fires started under controlled conditions can benefit the environment.

State and local officials are planning a number of activities in the coming weeks, including several prescribed burns, to demonstrate the importance of prescribed fire to the ecosystem.

"Prescribed fire is an effective practice for reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire throughout North Carolina's 18 million acres of forestlands," said Wib Owen, North Carolina's state forester. "It is also an essential management tool for forests and wildlife."

The term prescribed fire refers to starting and monitoring fires when it is not dry and windy to meet forest management goals. Many plants and animals need fire to survive and enhance their habitats. Fires also reduce competition from invading species, add nutrients back to the soil and allow native plants and animals to thrive.

Today, however, the Tar Heel State experiences far fewer naturally-occurring, low-intensity fires as more people are moving to the state to live in these one-time natural areas. Unburned forests can experience an unnatural buildup of shrubs and dead wood, endangering native plants and animals due to lack of food, habitat and conditions needed for them to exist.

To conduct a prescribed fire, a burn boss is trained to protect surrounding communities. Before starting a fire, the burn boss creates a plan, which ensures that a prescribed burn only occurs if conditions are not too windy or dry. The plan includes how the burn boss and his staff will control the fire and how they will manage the smoke generated by the fire as well as the reasons the prescribed burn is being conducted.

A number of activities will be ongoing in February and March to promote prescribed burning in North Carolina. Posters and other items will be displayed in the third floor visitors lobby of the N.C. Legislative Office Building in Raleigh.

Also, the Nature Conservancy will be hosting the Fire in the Lakes Festival at the Boiling Spring Lakes Community Center from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. March 12. More information on the festival is at http://fireinthelakes.weebly.com/.

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This page updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 13:14