Local News

Brush Fires A Danger After Dry Winter

Posted February 28, 2006 9:59 a.m. EST

— A brush fire in Wakefield on Tuesday was an early sign that the dry winter has planted the seeds for a fiery spring.

"Yesterday, there were 24 fires in the district that includes Wake County," said Capt. M.A. Lyons of the Knightdale Fire Department.

On Monday, there were 50 fires statewide -- eight in Wake County. While brush fire season is no earlier than usual, the dry winter may make it more severe.

"The dry winter allowed the ground and substance fuel to dry out, and that could give us problems when we try to mop up the fire after we've contained it," said Lyons.

Firefighters say careless homeowners who burn too close to the woods and don't keep constant watch are fanning the flames.

"They can step inside for a moment, and when they get out, it's out of control. It's too windy and too dry out there right now to be burning," said Lyons.

One yard in Knightdale went up in flames, firefighters say, after the homeowner tried to do some early spring-cleaning. That's a classic example of what firefighters now have to deal with -- private property in the middle of the forest.

"Even if it's just a single home, we've got to look out for it and protect it as well as put the woods fire out." said Moreland Gueth with the N.C. Division of Forestry.

Forestry officials say if you are going to burn leaves and yard waste, do it at a distance of at least 1,000 feet from your home, and always have a water source handy. That sounds like common sense, but it could save you a lot of trouble.