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Local News

May 4, 2013

Dry weather contributes to wildland fires

(Continued)

The ban outlaws the burning of household trash and leaf piles.

Day said if residents follow the law, the number of grass fires will diminish.

“This happens every year, and right now we are in that window where it is very dry with no rain, warm air temperatures, low humidity and nothing is green,” he said.

“All of that contributes to fires and helps them burn faster.”

ASHES IN COMPOST

There have been only a few brush fires so far this season in Essex County, according to Donald Jaquish, emergency services director and fire coordinator there.

Recently though, a summer home on Stickney Bridge Road was destroyed by fire.

“Nobody was harmed,” Jaquish said. “It was a nice home, but it completely burned.”

He said cause of the fire had likely been from ashes that had been dumped in a compost pile nearby.

“People need to watch where they dump their ashes,” Jaquish said. “That (the ash) can stay hot for many days.”

Franklin County had seen just one brush fire so far this spring, in Westville Friday afternoon.

Fire control there said it was quickly contained.

EXCAVATOR HELPED

A farmer had been burning brush off Leggett Road in Champlain when the wildland blaze started there, Timmons said.

“He did all he was supposed to do,” the fire chief said. “He had dirt cleared all the way around (the brush pile), no vegetation ...”

It is not illegal for farmers to burn brush, he noted.

A gust of wind blew the burning brush that started that fire, which crept into the woods, Timmons said. 

Along with fire crews, the State Department of Environmental Conservation and a forest ranger responded.

And the farmer put his excavator to work, moving around the perimeter of the fire and piling dirt to contain it.

That was a big help, the chief said.

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