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 May 2022 NEWFOUNDLAKELIFE.COM Page 15 Community
Smokey The Bear Says "Its Time For Fire Permits and Awareness Of Weather Conditions" Before Striking a Match
By Donna RhoDes
It’s that time of year when people get out to enjoy the out- doors and many times that can include time sitting by a camp- fire enjoying the clear night air, but before those peaceful and fun times can begin, each must be preceded by the procurement of a fire permit.
Under N.H.RSA 227-L:17, fire permits are necessary for any outdoor fires unless there is at least 100-ft. of snow surrounding the burn area.
Those permits are offered for three categories of burning. According to the N.H. Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources, Division of Forest and Lands, a Category I permit is issued for small controlled fires, such as camp or cooking fires. The fire must be contained in a fire-resis- tant ring or portable fireplace no larger than two-ft. in diameter and, except at picnic areas or campgrounds should be at least 25-ft. from any structures.
Category II permits are simi- lar to Category I but require that contained fires for the same pur- poses be no larger than four-ft. in diameter. That permit also re- quires the fire ring to be located at least 50-ft. from any structures and, unless it’s actually raining, those permits are only valid for burning from 5 p.m. until 9 a.m..
Finally, a Category III fire permit is needed when a fire is planned for an uncontained area, such as a bonfire, that is larger than four-ft. in diameter and
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Smokey the Bear signs like this one in Bristol are one way for
people to be aware of fire dangers each day. Photo by Donna Rhodes.
however a nominal fee for that convenience. Renters or other non-property owners who wish to have a campfire or burn for any other purposes must present a written letter of permission from the actual property owner to the local fire department each year when they seek their permit.
Failure to comply with the permitting process will have con- sequences. Those who kindle a fire without a permit can be held liable for all expenses incurred through the town’s response and/or efforts to extinguish it. Should a fire get out of control and extend to other property, they will also be liable for those damages. If a fire is intention- ally set there could be even more penalties.
“Any person violating any provision of the section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and any person who causes or kindles
a fire by any means, willfully or recklessly, which shall endanger a woodland, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor if a natural per- son, or guilty of a felony if any other person.”
A Class 1 day means there is low danger of fire, Class 2 is moderate, Class 3 signifies high danger, Class 4 is very high and Class 5 is extreme. Permits are suspended under the upper level classifications when even pro- pane and charcoal fires can be dangerous.
Dry conditions in the woods, high winds and other factors can affect safe burning prac- tices. Those who intend to burn are asked to check the updated Fire Class that day before kin- dling a fire. That information is displayed on Smokey the Bear signs and postings outside many fire departments or available by calling 1-866-643-4737.
limited for use for up to seven days from receiving it between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. unless once again it is raining.
Specifications for camp or cooking fires under a Cat. I or II permit state that six inches of sand or gravel should be placed beneath the fire ring to pre- vent the fire from burning into the ground, with a minimum of eight-ft. of the surrounding ground cleared down to mineral soil. Above the burn site an area at least 10-ft. high should also be clear of any tree limbs or other combustible materials. Both per- mits further require that only clean, untreated wood no more than five-inches in diameter can be burned. Burning of gar- bage or items that are painted,
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stained, pressure treated or from construction or demolition proj- ects are not permitted.
Recent 2020 statistics show that there were 113 wildfires in N.H. that year burning 89 acres; 165 of those fires were unpermit- ted. Furthermore, burning debris caused 22 of those fires, 21 were the result of campfires, 10 were caused by lightning and 44 were listed as “miscellaneous fires.” Miscellaneous includes fires caused by power lines, electric fences and other similar causes.
Obtaining a fire permit in New Hampshire however is as easy as stopping by the town fire department or, in some cases, the local town hall. People can also go online to NHFirePermit. com to get a permit. There is
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