By Rob Mullin, Charlotte Fire and Rescue Services, Inc.

Burn Permits
Before burning any brush or yard waste, please remember to call Shelburne Dispatch at (802) 985-8051 (7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) for a burn permit. The dispatcher on duty will ask what you plan to burn, your name and phone number and the location where the burning is planned. The dispatcher will tell you the rules and recommended safety precautions, and, if the weather conditions are favorable, a burn permit will be issued and the burn location logged. Then if a neighbor or passing motorist spots smoke or flames and calls 911 to report a fire, the dispatcher will see that a burn permit has been issued for the area in question and will not dispatch the fire department.

A reminder about the state rules regarding burn permits:

  • Burn only untreated and unpainted wood, brush, leaves, yard debris.
  • You must call for a permit whenever you wish to burn these materials in Charlotte.
  • The burn pile must be attended at all times.
  • Have plenty of water at the fire site before igniting the fire and do not leave the fire unattended even for a short time. Always extinguish the fire with water and stir the ashes to be sure it is completely out before leaving the fire site.
  • Permits are not issued during periods of rain, low clouds or high winds.
  • Fines can be imposed for burning without a permit, and the fire department can be reimbursed for costs to extinguish a burn pile that gets out of control.

Campfires or other recreational fires
Please call for a burn permit prior to having any sort of recreational or open cooking fire, so that the fire department is not called to respond. If a passing motorist or neighbor spots your fire and calls 911, the fire department will be dispatched unless you have a burn permit on record with Shelburne Dispatch. Try to clear the area of any other combustible materials.

Have plenty of water at the fire site before igniting the fire and do not leave the fire unattended even for a short time. Always extinguish the fire with water and stir the ashes to be sure it is completely out before leaving the fire site.

Outdoor grilling safety tips

Gas Grills
Please follow a few simple precautions before lighting your grill. First, check inside the grill under the lava rocks and cooking surfaces to make sure there are no nests. Second, inspect the condition of the hose from the tank to the grill for cracks, wear or other signs of aging. If necessary, replace the hose. Also, check to make sure there are no grease spots on the hose. With the grill off, check the tank fittings by tightening the connection and then, using a soapy sponge check all visible connections between the tank and grill. If soap bubbles appear, then there is a leak at the connection and the grill should not be operated until fixed. Many gas companies will inspect your grill and make sure it is safe to operate. When ready to light the grill, always open the grill top and stand back before igniting. If it fails to light, allow ample time for the gas to dissipate before attempting to light again. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions provided with the grill.

Charcoal grills
Make sure it is clean inside and the rack is clean, and the vents are operating properly. As with a gas grill, check for any nests. Always keep the top open when using charcoal starter or lighter fluid and make sure to stand back when lighting it. Never pour an accelerant onto hot coals. When finished cooking, pour water into the ash bed, and stir it around, ensuring that the coals are thoroughly soaked, close the vents and then the lid.

All grills
Move the grill at least 10 feet away from a building or deck before using it. Never use a grill indoors or under an overhang. Make sure the grill is cool to the touch before covering or storing it. Do not store against building walls or wooden railings. Do not leave a lit grill unattended at any time, and keep all children away from the grilling area.

Fireworks
All fireworks displays must have a permit (this is a state requirement), which must be applied for at least 15 days in advance of the event and will be approved by the fire chief or his designee only if the fireworks are being done by a professional pyrotechnics company. Finally, when considering a fireworks display, consider the winds and the intended audience and have an extinguishing agent nearby.

Charlotte Fire and Rescue highly recommends using the preceding tips in order to keep yourself, your family, your friends and your home safe during the summer season. There have been quite a few preventable fires in Charlotte in the past years resulting from improper grill use, some of which have resulted in severe damage to property.

If there are any concerns or questions, you can call Charlotte Fire and Rescue at (802) 425-3111.