As Smokey Bear says "Only you can prevent Forest Fires!"

Connecticut traditionally experiences high forest fire danger in the Spring
from mid-March through May. DEP's Division of Forestry constantly monitors the danger of
forest fire to help protect Connecticut's 1.8 million acres of forested land. Throughout the
Spring forest fire season, DEP sends daily advisories on forest fire danger levels to DEP's
state park forest field staff, municipalities, fire departments and the media. Forest fire
danger levels are classified at low, moderate, high, very high or extreme. In an average year
approximately 1,300 acres of Connecticut woodland are scorched by forest fires.

If you have received a permit from your local Open Burning Official to burn brush
on your property, the permit is not valid if the Forest Fire Danger is ratedhigh, very high
or extreme
and you are burning within 100 feet of a grassland or woodland.

Forest Fire Prevention Tips

The DEP's Forest Fire Control Office urges all who enjoy the use of Connecticut's parks,
forests and open spaces, to use fires with caution and heed the following
recommendations especially during forest fire season:

Obey local laws regarding open fires, including campfires;
Keep all flammable objects away from fire;
Have firefighting tools nearby and handy;
Carefully dispose of hot charcoal;
Drown all fires;
Carefully extinguish smoking materials.

For Connecticut homeowners, the following steps are suggested to protect your
family members and home:

Make a fire safe zone around your house. Clean flammable vegetation and debris from
at least 30 feet around the house and any outbuildings;
Prune away the lower limbs of evergreens that are within the fire safe zone.
Evergreens catch fire easily during dry periods and burn quickly;
Remove any limbs which overhang the roof or chimney;
Regularly remove leaves and needles from gutters;
Don't store firewood in the fire safe zone;
Use fire resistant roofing materials;
Make sure firefighters can find and access your home. Mark your house and roads clearly,
and prune away limbs and trees along your driveway which don't allow fire truck access;
Have an escape plan-- and practice it;
Follow state and local open burning laws;
Stay with outside fires until they are completely safe and dead out;
Dispose of wood ashes in a metal bucket, soaking them with water before dumping them.

If you spot a forest fire, remain calm, go to the nearest telephone and dial 911 to report
the fire as quickly as possible to your local fire department. Calmly tell the emergency
dispatcher when you saw it and where you saw it. Stay on the telephone until the
dispatcher tells you to hang up.

Forest Fire Weather Information

Red Flag Warnings

Red Flag Warnings are issued by the National Weather Service (NWS), which predicts weather and
forecasts warnings nationwide. Connecticut is divided between three different National Weather Service stations. Predictions for Hartford,
Tolland and Windham counties are made in Taunton, MA; predictions for Litchfield County are made in Albany, NY and
predictions for Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex and New London counties are made in Brookhaven, NY.

A Red Flag warning is a warning to the fire fighting community that if there is a fire, the weather conditions can be
expected to cause erratic fire behavior. Red Flag warnings are not a fire danger rating and they are not synonymous with High,
Very High or Extreme fire danger. Red Flag warnings are issued when winds will be sustained or there will be frequent gusts
above a certain threshold (normally 25 mph). In addition, relative humidity needs to be below 30% and precipitation for the
previous 5 days has to have been less than 1/4-inch.

Forest Fire Danger Rating

The DEP Division of Forestry issues Forest Fire Danger Ratings for Connecticut. A National Fire Danger Rating
system that utilizes two indexes is used in Connecticut. The "spread" of a fire is predicted with the Spread Index,
which is a numeric rating that corresponds with how fast a fire travels in 'Chains per Hour' (a chain is 66'). For example,
if a prediction is made that the Spread Index will be 19, it means the fire is predicted to spread 1254 feet (19 x 66') in an hour.

Connecticut also uses a Build Up index that measures drought. It is a relative scale that is based upon past precipitation.

The 5 Forest Fire Danger Ratings or Class Days are:

Rating or Class Days
LOW 0-10 0-22
MODERATE 11-15 23-44
HIGH 16-29 45-59
VERY HIGH 30-39 60-74
EXTREME >40 >75