Wildfire Prevention Week

     I personally think every week should be wildfire prevention week but I guess I’ll just have to settle for one week.  That one week is April 19-25th in Minnesota, Michigan, Manitoba, Wisconsin and Ontario.

Fire Prevention Week set for April 19-25 (April 16, 2009) MN DNR


To increase awareness of outdoor fire hazards, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Manitoba and Ontario have jointly declared April 19-25 as Wildfire Prevention Week.

Every year, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forestry personnel respond to some 1,500 wildfires. Most are caused by careless and unnecessary debris burning.

“Most wildfires occur in the spring, between the time when snow melts and the grass turns green,” explained DNR Forester Larry Himanga. “As fuels thaw, they become very dry. Without adequate spring rain, we’re busy chasing fires.”

Cabin owners and residents are busy in the spring, cleaning up yards after a long winter. They may be tempted to light that pile of brush or leaves and burn it. Outdoor burning is legal, but a permit is required. Burning restrictions are being put in place due to the heightened fire danger, so it is important to find out if burning is currently allowed in the area prior to lighting a match.

“Often we come upon a fire that was burning the night before and the landowner thought it was out,” Himanga said. “Sometime people are returning from work while we are packing up hoses after fighting a wildfire on their property or their neighbor’s property, due to the fast spreading flames.”

More information on wildfires, wildfire prevention, fire restrictions, burning permits, fire management, education and assistance in available online.

     According to the National Interagency Fire Center there are Five National Themes for the 2009 Fire Season.

Five National Themes for 2009 Fire Season

1.  Safety always comes first in fire management.


  • When firefighters need to make a decision, the first question always is, “Can we do this safely?” If the answer is no, they will take another direction.
  • No natural or cultural resource or structure is worth a human life.


2.  More acres burn now and many fires are more difficult to suppress. Here’s why.

  • An abundance of flammable vegetation, changing climate and more homes built in fire-prone areas are the primary reasons for more acres burning and the increased challenge of suppressing fires in the last decade.
  • More acres are forecast to burn in the future. Experts predict 10-12 million acres will burn annually within the next five years. (Quadrennial Fire Review, January 2009)
  • Right response, right time, right reasons.
  • Each fire is different and not all fires are managed the same way.

3.  The right response may include using several tactics on a fire.

  • The right response may mean anything from monitoring a fire that is helping the landscape to aggressively suppressing a wildfire that threatens people, homes or important resources.
  • At times, fires can benefit natural resources, helping to cleanse the landscape and renew vegetation. If a fire poses no threat to humans or important resources, firefighters may allow it to follow its natural course.
  • Firefighters base their decisions on many reasons. The reasons include risk to people, weather, fire behavior, information contained in land and fire plans, cost, and other considerations.


4.  In fire, we all work together.

  • Federal, state, tribal and local firefighters work together to keep the public safe and natural resources protected.
  • Pooling our strengths, resources and experience improves our efficiency and effectiveness.


5.  Firefighters count on you. You’re part of fire management, too.


  • If you own a home in a fire-prone area, you should take a few simple steps to make your property more defensible. Firefighters count on you to do that. It will improve your safety and that of firefighters. It will increase the chances that your home will survive a wildfire.


  • Wildland firefighters are not responsible for fireproofing your home. You are. What you do before fire season may make the difference whether your home survives a wildfire.


Prepared by NIFC External Affairs


Most recent revisions: March 26, 2009