Traditionally, the third week in April has been declared “Wildfire Awareness Week” by the governor to help promote awareness of the dangers of wildfires at this time of year. Many of the wildfires in Maine occur during the spring because of the dry, dead grass and the weather conditions (brisk winds, low relative humidity and warm afternoon temperatures).

To date, forest rangers have responded to and/or investigated more than 180 fires, which have consumed nearly 165 acres, compared to 119 fires that burned 128 acres during this same period in 2009. A significant number of these fires have threatened or damaged structures such as homes, sheds and camps.

The Maine Forest Service has information on how homeowners can protect their homes from wildfire. To learn how you can protect your home from wildfire, visit maineforestservice.gov or call 800-750-9777. Wildfire Awareness Week also coincides with April school vacation week and parents are reminded to talk with their children about the dangers of playing with matches or lighters.

Burn permits are required for outdoor burning and can be obtained from the local fire chief or in selected areas for a small fee at maineburnpermit.com. Remember to be careful with all outdoor fires during this time of year and make sure they are completely extinguished before leaving the area.