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How to Burn a Brush Pile

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Approximately 100,000 wildfires burn throughout the United States every year, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. Of these, around 90 percent are started by humans, while the other 10 percent are started by lightning. Burning unwanted brush in your backyard must be done safely and according to the law to prevent unwanted wildfires, as well as fines.

Contact your local fire department, city hall or Department of Natural Resources to obtain a burn permit. Many states require a burn permit in order to burn brush on your premises. The prices and restrictions of the permit will vary by county or state.

Locate a suitable area to burn the brush. Do not burn the brush around any other vegetation or utility lines, and burn at least 30 feet away from any structures. This will ensure that the main fire and flying embers do not cause damage beyond the burn area.

Check the weather report before burning. Do not burn on windy, dry days. Also, check with your local Department of Natural Resources for any burning restrictions or high wildfire danger levels.

Water your lawn around the perimeter of the burn area. This will ensure that embers do not ignite dry grass surrounding the burn area.

Keep a garden hose, shovel and rake handy during and after the burn. You will use these items to contain and put out the fire if it starts to spread outside the designated burn area.

Create a small pile in the center of your burn area. Ignite this fire and continue to add small amounts of material as the original pile begins to burn down. Do not create one large pile, as this burns more intensely and creates embers that will travel farther -- potentially into neighboring vegetation or structures.

Stay with the fire until it is completely out. Never walk away from your brush fire while it is burning, and continue to watch it for at least one hour after the blaze is completely out. Once the fire is out, spray it with a generous amount of water to ensure it does not reignite.

Contact your local fire department immediately if the brush fire begins to burn out of control, or threatens any neighboring vegetation or structures.

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