Burning Safely


Disclaimer: The following are recommendations only. We cannot be responsible for individual Landowner property or belongings. We are working to inform, educate and improve our ability to aid Landowner’s response in the event of a fire or emergency. Live to LEARN to BE SAFE. Fire can destroy us all. WHEN YOU STRIKE THE MATCH YOU BECOME RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR NEIGHBOR’S HOUSE AND PROPERTY!!!

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    Burn Day Actions

    • Check the COUNTY BURN BAN HOTLINE status @ 830/792-4328


    • Check the WEATHER for the day
    • Check the YOLA entrance signs for Moderate or better conditions
    • Call YOLA Security – leave voice mail if no answer
    • Prepare your CALLING Plan, in the event of difficulty, checking with available neighbors
    • Gather Tools
    • Prepare Site, BEST to have PREPARED in ADVANCE
    • Proceed with Caution

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    A Good Day

    • Rain – OK the day after a rain, but look for an inch in the week prior at least. Ideal is cool and drizzly.
    • Temperature – 40-60 degrees F and 40%+ Relative Humidity
    • Wind – Blowing away from structures or anything you don’t want to ruin
    • Less than 10 MPH (gusting to 12 MPH MAX)
    • Best @ 5 MPH, gusting to no more than 10 MPH
    • Start early – the wind is usually down, but check to make sure it will not increase, and allow most of the day to tend smoldering piles. Early is best as temp is lowest and humidity is highest.
    • DO NOT leave the area with burning piles.

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    A Bad Day

    • Temperature – greater than 80 degrees F.
    • Relative Humidity – less than 20%
    • Wind at or near 20 MPH

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    What to Wear

    • Cover up – long pants and boots at least. Long sleeve shirt recommended. 100% cotton or cotton/wool clothing only; polyester will melt and stick to your skin. You want to be prepared to FIGHT a FIRE if need be. Fire sparks, especially with cedar popping, can travel so watch out for bare skin.
    • Bandana’s work good for keeping smoke out of the nose and mouth.
    • Cover for your eyes that isn’t going to fall off.
    • Gloves, the heavier the better

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    • Water – for you and a pump-up sprayer (~ 2 gal.+) for the fire, both will be necessary
    • A Fire Extinguisher is an optional but very good idea; make sure it is appropriately rated
    • Shovel – this is essential for tending the fire and moving burning pieces to the middle
    • Rake or Hoe – some find this works too
    • Pruning Shear (long handled) – for cleaning up around the pile and for cutting a green branch to help brush out any embers or sparks that may blow. Ideal is a 'toe sack' in a 5 gal. bucket filled with water for putting out the flying embers, and potential ground fire.
    • Matches or Lighter
    • Hay fork, straw broom -- if you know how to use them

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    • This is a matter of preference, but most find that a propane torch (the bigger the better) is the optimal way to light a pile, green or not.
    • Some use kerosene or diesel fuel (NO GASOLINE), BUT this is very dangerous – use caution not to drip on yourself or dribble away from the pile as a small spark is all it then takes to ignite you too! Old paper sacks from feed bags often work well to get it started and are better burned under the pile than hauled away in the trash trailer.

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    Preparing the Pile (all assumes less than 10 MPH wind gusts)

    Note: you are probably going to want to prepare the pile to these specifications well in advance of burn day; then check again on burn day to be certain your spaces are more than adequate. The best cedar pile to burn, at least the least likely to throw embers 50-100’ or more, is the one that has browned and dropped all 'needles.'

      • MINIMUM DISTANCES – Hand Cut, Tree Limbs, 6 foot Maximum Pile Size
        • More than 100 feet from any structure, and well away from power lines
        • More than 75 feet from down wind trees
        • More than 50 feet from down wind heat stress and destruction
        • More than 30 feet from up wind trees
        • More than 15 feet from up wind heat stress and destruction
        • More than 10 feet around the pile, cleared of grass and ground debris

    *** When putting the flame to the fire start on the down wind end of the pile. This will aid in flame control by causing the pile to burn more slowly and less intense. The pile will burn into the wind not with the wind***

      • Larger Piles – e.g. Those piles made by machine
        • Professional advice is strongly recommended. Plan ahead and arrange for the Volunteer Fire Truck (donations welcome) to be ready or present at the burn. Maverick Services may be available to assist you in burning these piles for a fee .