North Carolina Forest Service

AVERY COUNTY — With the coming of cooler weather and autumn colors we must be aware of the increase in fire danger; this year especially, due to the drought we’re currently in. Once the leaves begin to fall and vegetation dies down, folks begin cleanup and sometimes burn the debris. Remember to take the following steps to complete the burning in a legal and safe manner.

  • Obtain a burn permit.
  • Pick a calm day with little or no wind.
  • Prepare the burn site in an open area and construct a fire break surrounding it down to mineral soil.
  • Have a water hose and a rake or shovel available before lighting the fire.
  • Stay with the fire at all times and be sure to soak and stir the ashes so the fire is dead out before you leave.

For those who will heat with wood this winter, be sure to clean and check out your chimney before building the first fire. Do not burn wood that is green (unseasoned) as this can build up creosote and cause chimney fires. When removing ashes, soak and stir them in a metal bucket before dumping in an area of bare soil.

These are some steps that can be taken to protect your home from wildfire:

  • Remove any flammable vegetation that is adjacent to or touching your structure (At least 30’ of green lawn surrounding your home is recommended for defensible space).
  • Remove leaves and twigs from roof, gutters, under decks, and in your lawn.
  • Do not stack firewood on wooden decks, porches or against your structure.
  • Be sure that all eaves are boxed in to eliminate openings where glowing embers or firebrands can land, causing a fire.

Remember to change batteries in smoke detectors when you set your clocks back. For more information, call (828) 766-8043 or email

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