Nine Out of 10 Wildfires Started by Humans… Prevent the Next One!

Contact(s): Stevin Westcott, (828) 257-4215

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Nine out of 10 wildfires in the United States are started by humans and Fire Prevention Week, October 9-15, is a reminder that we need to be extremely careful during this very dry time. The USDA Forest Service and the North Carolina Forest Service are urging residents throughout the state to keep safety in mind and exercise caution during the upcoming fall wildfire season that typically lasts from mid-October until mid-December.

In the fall, people do a lot of yard work that often includes burning leaves and yard debris. In North Carolina, more than 40 percent of all wildfires are caused by careless debris burning -- the number one cause of wildfires in the state. Private landowners who cause wildfires may be liable for fire suppression costs on state and national forest land if a fire originates on their property.

There are many factors to consider before burning debris. The N.C. Forest Service encourages anyone considering debris burning to contact his or her local county forest ranger. The forest ranger can offer technical advice and explain what the best options are to help maximize the safety to people, property and the forest.

For people who choose to burn debris, the N.C. Division of Forest Resources (NCDFR) offers the following tips to protect property and prevent wildfires:

  • Always consider alternatives to burning.
  • Obtain a burning permit at an NCDFR office or online at
  • Check the weather - don't burn on dry, windy days.
  • Know your local burning laws.
  • Be prepared with water, a shovel and phone.
  • Stay with your fire until it is completely out.

Studies have shown that taking these and other measures can greatly reduce wildfires and the loss of property associated with them.

For more information on preventing wildfires, go to,, or contact Brian Haines, public information officer with the N.C. Forest Service, at (919) 857-4828. Also, take time now to prepare your home against wildfires. Tips on protecting your property can be found at

USDA Forest Service fire prevention information is available online at: Contact Stevin Westcott, public affairs officer with the USDA Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina, at (828) 257-4215 for more information.

Remember….only YOU can prevent wildfires.