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State Aims to Snuff Out Fran Fires

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RALEIGH — Hurricane Fran is still a danger to North Carolina. Fallen limbs and uprooted trees can fuel forest fires. More than 200,000 homes could be threatened.

The state forest service is launching a major fire prevention campaign to snuff out the danger. A television commercial is part of the media effort. The campaign was unveiled March 10th in a Raleigh forest. The theme: Don't Get Burned Again by Fran.

"It's very important that people do take individual responsibility," explained Sherri Evans-Stanton of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources. "It's not just someone else's job just to put the fire out. It's your job to make sure the fire doesn't start in the first place."

Forest ranger Alton Perry is still surveying fallen trees. A year and a half after Fran pounded our area, debris on the grounds makes thousands of homes and structures vulnerable to forest fires.

Perry said a lot of clean up has already taken place in Wake County, but there are still hazards for those who clean and burn the debris. Pre-set fires are the number one cause of forest fires in the state. There is a safe way to burn.

"Make sure you get the area around the pile down to the bare minimum soil," Perry emphasized. "You want to scrape away to where you have nothing but dirt. Maybe you want to burn a day or two after a rain. Make sure you have all your tools-- a water hose."

The Division of Forest Resources offers information to teach people how to safely burn debris. For more information, call the Department of Environment and Natural Resources at919-733-2162.