GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — May is National Wildfire Awareness Month and North Carolina Forest Officials want to keep the public safe.

After the Great Lake fire in The Croatan Forest and the Last Resort fire in Tyrell County, our state is no stranger to wildfires. Forest officials are sharing the dangers of wildfires and what to do to prevent them.

Day 14: Croatan National Forest fire 63% contained, 32,400 burned

“We want people to keep their burn piles small not tall. said Phillip Jackson, the public information officer for NC Forest Service. “You’d want to have proper hand tools with you. You want to have rakes, shovels, you’d want a water source with a hose with running water or a bucket, and then we all have phones these days, so you’ll want to keep that phone close by kind of as a last resort in the event that fire does escape.”

In 2022, 99% of wildfires were caused by debris and backyard burning, according to officials. In the same year, NC experienced almost 6,400 wildfires with over 27,000 acres burned.