STAUNTON, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Spring is here — and with it, a seasonal spike in uncontrolled burns from property clean-up projects, the Posey Township Volunteer Fire Department warns.

Many homeowners use open burns to get rid of dry leaves, fallen branches, and other yard waste leftover from winter. Unfortunately, the urge to do spring cleaning often happens in April, which is usually the worst month for brush fires. Before new growth emerges, last year’s dead grass, leaves, and wood create a dry and highly flammable environment where flames can be fanned by windy spring weather.

“If you’re planning to burn your yard waste this spring, it’s so important to be prepared and alert at all times,” said Posey Fire Chief Cody Barnard. “Even small changes in the wind or weather conditions can create a dangerous situation where seconds matter — and if you have walked away, or don’t have tools on hand to extinguish an out-of-control fire, there can be serious consequences.”

Here are some tips on how to get your yard cleaned up for spring safely:

  • Never leave a fire unattended, even for a short period of time.
  • Make sure a permit is not required to avoid potential fines for an illegal burn.
  • If possible, call your local fire department to let them know a burn is in progress. 
  • Keep your fire away from utility poles and wires, overhanging tree limbs, and vehicles. 
  • Do not burn on windy days. If possible, burn on wet days instead. 
  • Do not burn grass or hay, which can blow and spread fire. 
  • Do not burn household trash, mechanical equipment, tires, hazardous materials, plastic, or industrial or commercial waste.
  • Always have fire control tools like a shovel, fire extinguisher, or water source nearby. 
  • Never delay calling for help. If your fire seems to have gotten out of control, call 911 immediately.

For more information on backyard burn safety, visit