Wildfire concerns during fall in North Carolina

LEXINGTON, N.C. -- Sam Griffith is a part of the North Carolina Forest Service District 10 team that covers Surry to Randolph counties. So far, fire conditions across this region are OK. But there is room for concern.

"Right now across the district it's looking pretty good," Griffith said. "We didn't get as much rain as we would have liked to have seen last weekend out of that system that came through."

And there's the concern. With the little bit of rain that did fall, strong winds are now drying out the leaves on the ground. As Griffith points out, "Here's a leaf that's been off the tree for awhile and it's starting to dry out. It crunches into a bunch of little pieces."

Dry, brittle leaves are the perfect fuel for a wildfire. Plus the monthly outlook is calling for drier than normal conditions. If dry weather sets in for three to four weeks, then our fire danger will rise. Debris burning in North Carolina is one of the main causes for wildfires in North Carolina.

"In the amount of time that it takes you to walk away from your fire and get something to drink or eat lunch, it can already be out of your control," Griffith said.

The North Carolina Forest Service reminds us that saving your fallen leaves can be better than burning them.

"Leaves are a natural compost for the forest," Griffith said. "They help with the soil profile and it wouldn't be bad for your yard."

Griffith adds a long drink of water would also be great news for your yard.

"What we are looking at when we are watching it rain is less on the amount and more on the duration, how long did it rain," Griffith said.

Also it is important to follow local burning laws.