Dry conditions can mean dangers while burning brush - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Dry conditions can mean dangers while burning brush


The sun's out and so are the spring time workers. It's a busy time of year for those trying to clean up their yards of branches and leaves.

It's starting to feel like spring and for Jim Cebra that means it's time for spring cleaning. "It's something I enjoy doing, we're on Spring break now, I'm a school teacher so it's that time-the sun's out-to do the yard work."

But what should you do once you've piled up all the brush? If you plan to burn, firefighters say be careful!

"People are burning basically everything they rake up and then it spreads all over the place," says Clay fire marshal David Cherrone.

In the past week he says area fire departments have been busy fighting grass fires. "Even though we have a lot of moisture saturated in the ground, that doesn't have any bearing on the dry and dead vegetation on the top."

Digging down into the ground you can see the dirt is pretty moist, but Cherrone showed FOX28 how the stuff on top can catch fire quickly. He says if you plan on burning anything this spring, there's a few guidelines to follow.

"Anytime that's burning or smoking, someone has to be standing there, you can't supervise it from inside your house, you need to be standing there the whole time."

He says make sure you can control the fire by having a water hose nearby and don't burn a pile bigger that 3 feet high and 5 feet around. "It has to be a size you can control yourself."

At the Concord Township Fire Department, Deputy Chief Dave Miller says burning isn't always best. "Check into different ways of getting rid of your materials. There is compost piles, there are recycling plants, recycle spots locally that you can take your stuff to."

That's the route Cebra is taking, no burning for him! He plans to use the leaves and grass clippings for mulch. "I try to stay away from burning as much as possible." 

Something both departments agree may be a good idea. The rules vary depending on where you live, so they say contact your departments to find out if you need to get a permit.

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