Maryland — The Office of the State Fire Marshall says they’ve seen a whole bunch of burn injuries resulting from open-air burning in the past month, so they’re reminding Maryland residents to be safe if they plan to burn things.

State Fire Marshall Brian Geraci stressed that a big pile of brush is not the same thing as having a small camp fire.

“The scale of these fires means an increased chance of unintentional spread and flashback, which can cause injury or death.”

When burning brush and other natural debris, you must ensure the following:

  • There is a natural or constructed fire break at least 10 feet wide around the material to be burned that is free of flammable materials.
  • Adequate personnel and equipment are present to prevent the fire from escaping, including access to water and a shovel with dirt or sand nearby.
  • At least one responsible person remains at the location of the fire until the last spark is out.
  • The burn follows all local requirements and regulations according to their county, city, and/or homeowner’s association.
  • Burning occurs between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 12 midnight, except when the ground is covered with snow. If there is snow-covered ground, the burning may occur at any time so long as all other requirements are met.

The most important tip: Never use an accelerant, such as lighter fluid, gasoline, or diesel fuel, to facilitate a fire.

Using  accelerants will dramatically increases your chance of being butned. And don’t forget to wet the ground surrounding the fire.

Never burn on windy days or in dry weather, and do not burn near trees, buildings, or other flammable sources.

Remember, items such as household trash, tires, roofing material, and treated lumber may not be burned in an open fire.