UPDATE ON FIRE PERMITS 04/27/2016

Although we did receive about 3” of snow Tuesday, April 26 which does help but does little to really reduce the fire danger and conditions. This morning, April 27, the NH Forest & Lands daily predicted fire danger is a State Wide Class 2. At the end of the statement it advises that low humidity and gusty winds will begin to dry out the surface fuels putting the conditions closer to where we were on Monday April 25.

According to this morning’s on line WMUR Channel 9 video cast, we are experiencing a rain deficit of almost 2” coupled with the minimal snow fall this Winter has created these conditions. In addition, according the Ch 9 video cast, State Officials are advising that only one hour of sun and wind will dry out the area with the Fire Danger increasing each day.

To date since Spring, there have been 40 significant brush fires in the State that has burned 300 acres. In Bartlett on Sunday April 24, we responded to an illegal campfire which required us to extinguish it. In our effort to make sure this fire was completely extinguished we had to dig down about a foot into the ground. We found that the entire 12” depth we dug was extremely dry and was similar to talcum powder. We really need a good soaking two day rain event to bring the fire danger back down to acceptable levels but at this time there is no such weather event in the long range forecast. There are a couple of chances for some spot showers or perhaps drizzle but nothing close to what we need.

We believe to allow fire permits to be issued and honored for one or two days, and then no fires allowed for next 5 or 6, creates a lot of confusion where no fire permits issued or honored with a please no outside fires seems much less confusing.

We are continually monitoring the weather and fire danger conditions which have been unusually high and erratic this Spring. It is not our intention to keep people from having fires, but to keep fires from getting out of control due to the high fire danger. It takes very little for fires to get out of control or for an ember of a fire to start another fire. We are asking for your cooperation and understanding as we have no control over the weather.

So, please NO OUTSIDE FIRES AND FIRE PERMITS ARE NOT BEING ISSUED NOR HONORED AT THIS TIME in Bartlett.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding,

Chief/Warden Pat Roberts

FIRE PERMIT INFORMATION – PLEASE READ

NO FIRES PERMITTED – As of April 19, 2016

The following is to better explain what the Fire Danger is and why Fire Permits are NOT being issued or honored in Bartlett.

In NH open burning is considered a privilege and not a right and requires a Fire Permit anytime the ground is not completely covered with snow. Even when raining a Fire Permit is required. You must be 18 years old and be the property owner or have written permission from the property owner before acquiring a Fire Permit. If you are not the property owner and do not have written permission from the property owner, the fine and penalty is the same as if you do not have a permit.

During the Spring each year between snow melt off and green up, we experience a period of time when the fire danger is quite variable each day and at its highest of the year. We are unfortunately in that period of time.

While we did receive about a quarter inch of rain overnight Monday April 18th this amount of precipitation is miniscule in comparison to what we need to help reduce the Fire Danger. The wind today will dry out the cover fuels like grass leaves, and pine spills back to a level of dryness before we it rained. The three contributing factors that create this High Fire Danger situation is rain fall, relative humidity, and wind speed. Rain fall has been somewhat limited in the past 10 days, the relative humidity is really low, and the wind speed over 10 miles an hour tend to spread fires extremely fast which quickly become out of control in minutes.

We monitor the rain fall, weather warnings, and the predicted fire danger during these times to determine if it is safe to issue Fire Permits or not. Unfortunately we cannot issue permits at this time and apologize for any inconvenience this may create. We will continue to monitor the weather and will start issuing Fire Permits as soon as the High Fire Danger is reduced to an acceptable level.

Just a note, the Permitee or person whom the Fire Permit is issued to is ultimately 100% liable for the cost of extinguishment, damage to any property, and can be subject to a $2000 fine and up to a year in jail. The cost of extinguishment can be significant as many fire departments, including Bartlett, charge up to $200 per hour for each of the fire trucks that will arrive on scene.

Since Sunday there has been 3 significant fires here in NH and at least 7 in Maine. The largest was in Stoddard with 42 acres burned and, as of yesterday afternoon, the fire in Brookline was contained but not extinguished. Please help us protect the Town of Bartlett, NH and keep a significant fire from happening here. Please no outside fires until further notice.

If you have any questions please call the Bartlett Fire Department @ 383-9555.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding,

Fire Chief L. Patrick Roberts