by Hollie McAfee

The weather this week has been gorgeous.  Temperatures around 70 degrees, no rain, blue skies.  After a long Maine winter, most homeowners are happy to get outside and start cleaning up their yards.  This is the time of year when people burn the brush, grass, leaves and debris that have piled up.  Although this weather is perfect for raking, it’s not so great for burning.

Today’s current wildfire danger report, available at the Maine Forest Rangers site, states that the danger risk is “Very High.”  This is defined as, “Fires start easily from all causes, and immediately after ignition, spread rapidly and increase quickly in intensity. Spot fires are a constant danger. Fires burning in light fuels may quickly develop high-intensity characteristics; such as, long-distance spotting and fire whirlwinds, when they burn into heavier fuels. Direct attack at the head of such fires is rarely possible after they have been burning more than a few minutes.”

Before you burn your yard debris, find out your local laws and obtain a permit.  Also check the risk of fire, and consider waiting to burn when the risk is much lower.  WAGM-TV had a great bit on brush fire safety this week.  See that video here.

Remember that a fire on your property can quickly get out of control and cause damage to your own home, and your neighbors’ homes and property.  You know that homeowners insurance covers fire to your own home, but damage to others’ property is covered under the liability section of your policy.  The limit for liability starts at $100,000 and can be up to $500,000.  It wouldn’t take long to cause this much damage with a brush fire.  Make sure you have the highest liability limit available, and consider purchasing extra liability coverage with an umbrella policy.