If you're planning to burn any debris this year, remember to get a burn permit and call for help immediately if the fire gets out of control.

Everywhere I go right now, I'm smelling burning brush. For me, it's always a signal that spring has arrived. We live in the woods so, at any given time, someone around us seems to be burning the dead branches and leaves left behind by the winter weather. I love that smell! But there are a few rules you have to follow when doing an open burn and I wanted to remind you of two.

First, make sure to get a burn permit before doing any outdoor burning. It's easy to get one. You can stop by your local fire department to buy one, or just log onto the Maine Forest Service's burn permit site. This way, officials know when you're going to burn and let you know if conditions aren't conducive to an outdoor fire. Plus, it's the law. If you get caught setting an outdoor fire without a permit, you're going to get fined.

Second, call for help if your fire gets out of control. Don't be embarrassed that it got away from you. Fire officials would much rather be called out to a fire only to find that you've already doused it than to get there and find it's burning your fields or threatening your neighbor's house.

For more information on the rules surrounding outdoor burning, log onto the state's Burn Permit website.

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