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Dry, warm stretch could create issues with wildfires

(WABI)
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 4:32 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - With our friends in the weather department predicting a stretch of warm, sunny conditions, that’s welcome news to most of us.

But, local officials also want you to be aware what those dry conditions can do to fuel fires.

“Fire is a very important tool, but as with any tool, it’s got to be used correctly and respected,” said Dep. Chief Eric Pelletier, Bangor Fire Department. “This time of year, we have a lot of dead fuels. You have a lot of dead grass, a lot of dead leaves and branches that are, you know, pretty much dried out. They’re not green. Our moisture with the leaves starting to come out and grass turning green and the fire conditions goes down, but this time of year where it’s dry for extended period of time, you can have fires pop up any time in the day.”

On Monday, the Maine Forest Service had the entire state with moderate or high fire danger. As people clean out their yards and want to have a permitted burn to get rid of it all, there is a lot to keep in mind.

“You want to make sure they try to keep the fire small, so it’s easy to control, and make sure that you have a defensible space around it. You know, make sure that you’re not burning under trees or next to big, tall grass in a field,” Pelletier said. “After you have any fire, you always want to make sure that it’s completely out. Make sure you have plenty of water on hand and before you leave it, make sure that it’s cold and the ashes are cold and wet.”

Don’t be the reason a fire starts.

“You always want to make sure you properly dispose of cigarettes. If you’re using recreational vehicles, ATVs or any other motorized equipment, make sure they have mufflers, make sure they have the spark arresters attached to them so you’re not putting out any sparks or embers that way,” Pelletier said.

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