The N.H. Division of Forests and Lands has announced that April 14 through April 20, 2019 has been designated as Wildfire Awareness Week in New Hampshire.
April sees an increase in wildfire activity when forest and wildland fuels are highly flammable and easily ignited. Wildfire Awareness Week is an effort to promote wildfire safety and increased awareness of the dangers of wildfires and the steps that can be taken to reduce wildfire risk.
Wildfires are significant unplanned and uncontrolled fires occurring on the landscape; New Hampshire experiences approximately 250 of them each year, burning an average of 250 acres annually. Wildfires of any size can easily result in personal injury or property damage and have the potential to become catastrophic in certain situations
Protecting the state’s forests and timberlands from wildfires has significant positive effect on the forest products industry, recreation and tourism which together contribute billions of dollars annually to the economy.
Simple steps to help reduce the risk of wildfires and the damage they can cause include completely extinguishing all fires, including campfires, keeping lawns and native grasses mowed to a height of four inches, cleaning roofs and gutters of dead leaves, pine needles and other debris that could easily trap embers and ignite.
“Most wildfires in New Hampshire are the result of human carelessness or people not understanding the simple steps that can be taken to reduce risk,” said Captain Douglas Miner, wildfire prevention specialist for the N.H. Forest Protection Bureau. “Wildfire Awareness Week draws attention to the need to be proactive about reducing the potential occurrence of wildfire incidents as well as methods to keep wildfires from spreading.”
National wildfire prevention ambassador Smokey Bear turns 75 in 2019 and the N.H. Forest Protection Bureau will be promoting wildfire prevention awareness by participating in programs at public libraries and other events throughout the state. A special birthday party for Smokey will take place at Franconia Notch State Park on August 15.
Gov. Sununu has issued a proclamation officially designating April 14 through April 20 as “Wildfire Awareness Week in New Hampshire,” noting that wildfires “have the potential to negatively impact our state’s valuable natural resources and to threaten life and property.”
Anyone interested in learning more about wildfire prevention is encouraged to contact their local fire department or the N.H. Forest Protection Bureau. Information is also available from the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities website: firewise.org.
Part of the N.H. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the Division of Forests and Lands protects and promotes the value provided by trees and forests. For more information about the Division of Forests and Lands and the work of its Forest Protection Bureau, visit nhdfl.org or call 603-271-2214.