Holdover fire - Wikipedia

Preventing Holdover Fires

Spring has sprung and with it, the alarming potential for holdover fires to spring back to life and threaten our community. Holdover fires involve organic material that is in the ground under a burn pile that continues to smolder during the winter months. This type of fire may burn without visible smoke or flames. Holdover fires can take off when dry grasses emerge from the cover of snow, and high winds fan the embers which can quickly escalate to a wildfire. 

In Parkland County, we’ve had several holdover fires start small wildfires in the past week due to high winds and warm, dry weather. These fires were permitted burns of brush piles during the winter that were not properly extinguished by landowners.


You may be held legally responsible for any holdover fires on your property and associated firefighting costs. In previous seasons, we have seen wildfires starting from holdover fires that have cost the County millions of dollars in firefighting costs and have had a significant impact on our community, including lost and damaged homes, businesses, and challenging evacuations.

If you have any burn or brush piles that were lit during the winter – whether you had a permit or not – please check them immediately.

  • Extinguish any hot spots, walk the burn area, roll the debris over to check for further hot spots.
  • Probe the burned area to ensure there are no smoldering fires in the ground.
  • Stir the debris and water down hot spots.
  • Watch the wind conditions and continue to check burned areas for the potential of reignition.
  • If a fire does start, call for help right away before it spreads out of control.