REGIONAL – So you want to burn some junk mail in your backyard fire pit?

Got a permit?


Then stop!

Red Flag day?

You won’t get a permit.

“Red Flag means no burning. No burning, no permit,” stressed Norway Fire Chief Dennis Yates on Monday as he watched the flag above the station bringing in wind from the north under very dry conditions – a combination ripe for fire.

Last week and early this week, area fire departments were warning residents through their Facebook pages and other means that a Red Flag Warning was in place – which means no burning. However, many have been busy putting out woods and brush fires along roadways.

Yates said the ground covering has not “greened up” yet and with the majority of the winter snow already gone, the conditions along with wind, create extreme hazard for fires, he said.

Paris Fire Chief Brad Frost said the local area has been very fortunate to have no brush fires during the week or two of Red Flag days. Small brush fires were reported in area towns, such as Poland and Bridgton, last week.

“Knock on wood,” Frost said cautiously of Paris. “People have been really good.”

Frost said although cooking fires are allowed without a permit – even in a fire pit – he would ask that they be extinguished rather than take the chance of getting out of control during some of the Red Flag days.

Red Flag days are the highest risk for fires.

The Maine Forest Service identified the Oxford County area as a “high” fire risk during the past two weeks which, according to its web site, means that all fine dead fuels ignite readily and fires start easily from most causes.

“Unattended brush and campfires are likely to escape. Fires spread rapidly and short-distance spotting is common, “according to the description. “High-intensity burning may develop on slopes, in concentrations of fine fuel. Fires may become serious and their control difficult, unless they are hit hard and fast while small.”

Under the state of Maine’s Rules and Guidelines for Open Burning, issued by the Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Air Quality and Department of Conservation, Bureau of Forestry, open burning is defined as the burning of any type of combustible materials out of doors.

Permits are necessary for open burning and are granted by the Department of Conservation forest ranger, the town forest fire warden or the fire chief that has jurisdiction over the location where the fire is to be set.

Permits can be revoked during a period of high forest fire danger, where a nuisance is created and when permit conditions are not followed, according to the guidelines.

In recent days, permits have not been issued because of the high forest fire danger.

Anyone who would like to find out the fire class day can do so by looking at the Fire ranger’s website at…/…/wildfire_danger_report/fire_rating.html

Any person who engages in outdoor burning that is prohibited  by statute or who fails to comply with the conditions of the permit will be guilty of a Class E crime, according to Maine’s the rules and guidelines for open burning.

If a fire is permitted, the permitee is responsible for the fire if it escapes and may be liable for supression costs up to $10,000 as well as any damages caused to other property.

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