Learn Before You Burn!


Taken for Dickinson County Emergency Management:

Thinking about doing some burning? Whether it’s a small trash pile or an entire field, it’s imperative that you check the current weather conditions as well as the forecast. Often

This fire on Christmas Day, 2011, burned over 200 acres and started from a simple trash fire that wasn't properly supervised and where adequate materials weren't present to extinguish the fire before spreading into a prairie area.

times, what starts as a small fire, quickly grows out of control. Remember, you are responsible for any damages, injuries and even deaths that occur as a result of the fire you started.

Tips for conducting open burning:

  • Never use gasoline, kerosene or any other flammable liquid to start a fire because the risk of
    personal injury is high.
  • Burn one small pile at a time and slowly add to it. This will help keep the fire from getting out of
  • Select a location away from any utility lines.
  • While the fire is burning, an adult must attend the fire until it is completely extinguished.
  • Have fire extinguishment materials on hand including a water supply, shovels and rakes. The water supply could be a pressurized water fire extinguisher, a pump can or garden hose, and be sure to test it out before igniting the fire. You do not want to find out that the water is still shut-off at the house faucet or that the hose is cracked when you need it most. For larger burns, have machinery close by such as discs or cultivators.
  • Be prepared to extinguish your fire if the winds pick up or weather changes. Use common sense and remember that sudden wind change is how most open burning gets out of control.
  • If for some reason, the fire should get out of control, call 911 immediately. Use the utmost caution to prevent injury to yourself or family members or any damage by fire to your home.
  • April is usually the worst month for brush fires. When the snow pack recedes, before new growth emerges, last year’s dead grass, leaves and wood are dangerous tinder. Winds also tend to be stronger and more unpredictable during April.
  • Open burning releases large amounts of carbon dioxide, other gases, and solid substances directly into the air, which can contribute to respiratory problems. Disposal of natural materials is never as good for the environment as using them again in a different form. Tree limbs, brush and other forestry debris can be chipped or composted into landscaping material.