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December 29, 2017

We normally see humidity in the 50-80% area during the spring and summer months.

However, now that we are into winter time, our humidity drops to anywhere between 19-35%. Humidity is essentially the saturation of the air by water, expressed in percentages. When the dryer, colder air sets in for the winter time, it, in turn, drinks out grass, timber, slash and yard debris.

While burning off yard debris in itself is not an issue, the manner in which it is done should be observed.

Things to consider:

1. Never pile your burn pile higher than 2 feet. The flame height can reach up to 7 feet at this height. This can also release enough heated air to preheat surrounding fuels.

2. Do not fan the flames or aggressively stir the burn pile while burning. Embers (firebrands) can be released and can travel up to a mile and ignore other fuels.

3. Ensure that you have a good fire break around your burn pit. It should be clear of any grass, leaves, and twigs, only leaving mineral soil. Since mineral soil is non-combustible, it'll keep your fire secured.

4. Keep a water source nearby. This is for extinguishing any embers that are left and are hot. Pour and stir the pile until cool to the touch.

5. NEVER use an accelerant (gasoline, etc.) to start your fire.

6. Know what you're burning and how thick the fuel is. The thicker the fuel, the longer it will burn. (1,10,100, and 1,000 hour fuels).

7. Always check the weather before burning. If the humidity is below 35%, don't burn.

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Blacksburg Volunteer Fire Department
104 E Cherokee St
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