Spring means controlled burns- wildfire season also approaches

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GERING, Neb (KNEP) Gering Fire Chief Nathan Flowers said that if a fire gets out of hand during a controlled burn, it’s important to call 9-1-1 right away. Whether you have a permit or not, the fire department just wants to stop the spread of fires.

Flowers said that there is a lot of vegetation in the panhandle right now, and certain factors such as humidity, overgrowth, and wind can contribute to fire risk. “In the past several years, we haven’t seen a really big wildfire season.” And that means that we are at the tail end of a 6-12 year cycle where we need to be very mindful of fire risks.

If you live in an area that allows for controlled burning, you can secure a burn permit from your local Fire Department. There is no special training available for individuals in Gering at this time, but the Fire Department is happy to answer any questions related to everything from safety to environmental risks. There are training sessions made available for companies that perform controlled burns. “Most of the people in this area are really knowledgeable and know how to and what burning will do on their land.”

Permits are required to burn, failure to secure a permit may result in a fine. But Flowers says that whether you have a permit or not, the Fire Department just wants to help stop the spread of fires. The Gering Fire Department issues 25 – 50 burn permits a year. Last year, they extinguished 10 fires that began as controlled burns.

Whether you have a burn permit or not, it is important to call 9-1-1 as soon as the fire gets out of your control. Only burn on days when it is allowed. Call dispatch to let them know that you are burning to avoid confusion. And finally, check in with your local fire department to let them know you’ll be burning and where. Preventative measures are the best way to stop the spread of fires.