Wildfire season is upon us, according to the N.C. Forest Service.
A wildfire engulfed more than 550 acres in Bladen County near White Lake on Wednesday.
"The best way you can act to keep wildfire damage from occurring is to prevent them from starting in the first place," the service said on its website.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
▪ Debris burning: Check local laws (in case you need a permit or can only burn on certain days or during certain hours); check the weather and don't burn on dry, windy days.
▪ Burning fields or gardens: Have a source of water, a bucket and a shovel on hand to control the fire; stay with your fire until it's out.
▪ Using lanterns, stoves and heaters: Cool each device before fueling; place it on the ground in a clear area; properly store flammable liquid containers; clean up all fuel spills.
▪ Smoking: Grind out cigarettes, cigars or pipes in the dirt; never grind it on a stump or a log; never dump used cigarettes out the window.
▪ Charcoal: After using burning charcoal briquettes, douse them thoroughly with water, don't just sprinkle a bit over the coals; when soaked, stir them and soak them again; make sure they're out, cold.
▪ Campfires: Build fires away from overhanging branches or other flammable materials such as stumps, logs, dry grass and leaves; put extra wood away from the fire; keep water and a shovel on hand to control the fire; scrape away litter and other burnable material within a 10-foot diameter of the fire; never leave a fire unattended;. after use, drown the fire in water and make sure all embers, coals and sticks are soaked.
For more information: www.ncforestservice.gov/fire_control/fc_firesafetyoutdoors.htm