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Connecticut fire officials' warnings about spring forest fire season

Wind and the sun bearing down through trees are among the big problems at this time of year.

HAMDEN, Conn. — Fire experts tell us we are now in what's known in the northeast as Spring forest fire season. And while many brush fires cook just off of a roadway or in the woods, they can also happen right where you live.

"(We had) one in a resident's backyard, who was using an appropriate fire pit, appropriately distanced from their house but radiant heat from the fire pit caught the surrounding lawn on fire," said Hamden Fire Chief, Gary Merwede, of the weekend fire.

That's right. It was not embers from the fire pit, it was caused the heat simply radiating out, which ignited the parched lawn. 

"And the wind drove the fire close to their house," Merwede said.  And he recommends you do not use your fire pits or Chimineas now.

"And if you are a smoker, to be very sure that you discard your smoking materials appropriately," he added.

Wind and the sun bearing down through trees are among the big problems at this time of year. 

"There’s no canopy and it’s baking all of the dead leaves and dead sticks that died last year that are not green yet," says Peter Struble, a Senior Lecturer in the Fire Sciences Program at the University of New Haven.

"There’s not really much humidity yet and there’s no precipitation," Struble said. "All you need is a little spark now."

And catalytic converters on your vehicle can spell trouble, too.

"So, this is the time of year you do not want to park your car in the grass or the woods because you may end up with a car fire," he said. 

And when the fire danger is high, Struble says it hurts farmers, who normally have permits to burn off old vegetation.

"They’re not allowed to burn on those days," he said. "Their permits are invalid on days where the fire risk is above high 05:22

   

Some basic fire prevention tips from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection:

  • Obey local laws regarding open fires, including campfires. 
  • Keep all flammable objects away from a fire
  • Have firefighting tools nearby
  • Carefully dispose of hot charcoal
  • Drown ALL fires

Carefully extinguish smoking materials

More tips, including tips for homeowners, can be found on our DEEP's website here

Another important resource for people is the daily forest fire danger report DEEP puts out. It’s available here.

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