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Last weekend firefighters battled wildfires in Maine and New Hampshire. Even after some rain, the risk of brush fires remains high. A wildfire burned 28 acres in Old Orchard Beach and more wildfires burned in Bridgton, Milo, Bradford, Sedgwick and Wells. Gusty winds are quickly drying up the small amount of rain that we got, and those same winds create more dangerous conditions for brush fires.

You may be tempted to burn all of those fall leaves that you didn't get to before the first snowfall, but hold off until conditions are safer, and remember that you need to get a burn permit from your local Fire Department-if burning is even allowed in your town or city. It's a no-go in So. Po.!

Here are some tips for burning brush:

  • Never burn construction debris, painted wood, plastic or pressure treated wood.
  • Always have a hose or other extinguishing tools available.
  • Make sure your fire is completely out before walking away from it. It only takes one ember!
  • Even if you have a permit, never leave a fire burning unattended. You will be cited.
  • Keep brush piles small and controllable, don't light it all up at once.
  • Never burn during high winds.

The Maine Forest Service recommends a 30 foot defensible buffer between your house, other structures on your property, and the forest. Clear out debris and undergrowth around your house to help minimize loss in the event of a brush fire. Trim tree branches that overhang your roof as well.

Be safe out there.