CONCORD – Gov. Chris Sununu has issued a proclamation that bans both outdoor burning and smoking in and near New Hampshire woodlands statewide due to the extremely high danger of wildfires that threaten the state.
The emergency ban became effective immediately upon his signature and will remain in effect until fire danger conditions change significantly.
The White Mountain National Forest also implemented fire restrictions beginning Friday. Visitors and residents are reminded to be smart about having fires at designated campgrounds while recreating on the White Mountain National Forest.
Fire restrictions will be implemented on the White Mountain National Forest as of 12:01 P.M. Friday, Sept. 25. These restrictions allow fires only in U.S. Forest Service provided metal fire rings, metal fire pits or pole mounted grills at designated campgrounds or picnic areas. See list below.
The Executive Council has endorsed Gov. Sununu’s proclamation.
“This ban is necessary to protect New Hampshire from the very serious fire danger threat currently affecting our state,” said Chief Steven Sherman of the N.H Forest Protection Bureau. “While the restrictions may be a slight inconvenience to some, we must work together to protect lives, property and our natural resources from the imminent threat of wildfires.
“The persistent and expanding impacts of the drought across New Hampshire, coupled with the fall season, are creating dangerous conditions for wildfires to occur. Fire departments have been fighting remote fires across the region, and with dry conditions and a lack of water, any open flame poses a hazard to our state at this time.”
The Governor’s proclamation bans the following:
– kindling of open fire, including fires built for camping, the burning of debris, or warming, on all public trails or other public property, excluding public campgrounds; and
– kindling of Category 3 fires; a fire greater than 4 feet in diameter or a fire not contained within a ring of fire resistive material; and
– smoking a pipe, cigar and/or cigarette outdoors in or near public woodlands or on public trails; and
– kindling of Category 1 & 2 “campfires”; those not contained within a ring of fire resistive material or in a portable fire place.
The proclamation does not ban the use of propane or liquid-fueled grills or camping stoves.
An infraction of the burning ban is a violation level offense which may result in a warning, violation or administrative summons with fine amounts from $124 to $1,000. In addition, anyone responsible for starting a wildfire is liable for the cost of suppressing the fire.
The U.S. Forest Service has additional restrictions on national forest lands. Citizens and visitors should contact the White Mountain National Forest Headquarters in Campton for additional information.
New Hampshire’s Forest Protection Bureau is responsible for protecting the state’s more than 4.5 million acres of both public and private forestlands from threats posed by wildland fire and forest-related crimes.
The following campgrounds are the ONLY locations on the White Mountain National Forest that fires are allowed within established fire control devices.
Barnes Field Group Campground
Crocker Pond Campground
Dolly Copp Campground
Wild River Campground
Big Rock Campground
Osceola Vista Campground/Group Campground
Russell Pond Campground
Sugarloaf I Campground
Sugarloaf II Campground
Blackberry Crossing Campground
Cold River Campground
Covered Bridge Campground
Jigger Johnson Campground
White Ledge Campground
Dry conditions, current and expected weather conditions, and available fire-fighting resources, as well as the occurrence of human-caused fires are factors in the determination to implement fire restrictions on public lands. White Mountain National Forest Fire managers are reminding the public that unattended or abandoned campfires can quickly escalate into wildfires. Fire danger is high, and forecasts call for warm and dry conditions to persist for the remainder of September and beyond. White Mountain National Forest personnel have extinguished 129 unattended or abandoned campfires this summer. All campfires must be completely extinguished before leaving a site. Campers and day users should have a shovel on hand and a water bucket ready for use. Soak, stir, feel, repeat. Make sure your campfire is “dead out” and cold to the touch before departing. Stay informed regarding fire conditions and follow all guidelines and restrictions.
The following restrictions exist year-round on federal public lands:
- Operating a chainsaw on national forest lands is permitted only when equipped with a USDA or SAE approved spark arrester that is properly installed and in effective working order. Operators must also carry a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of 2A and one round point shovel with an overall length of at least 36 inches.
- Discharge of fireworks and use of explosives requiring blasting caps are prohibited.
Violators of these prohibitions could face civil and criminal penalties and fines up to $5000.
The public is encouraged to report illegal campfires, as well as smoke reports, to the local White Mountain NF District Office or 911.
Androscoggin Ranger District: 603-466-2713
Saco Ranger District: 603-477-5488
Pemigewasset Ranger District: 603-536-6100