Press-Republican

Saturday

May 4, 2013

Dry weather contributes to wildland fires

CHAMPLAIN — Twelve fire companies sent crews to a wildland fire on Leggett Road in Champlain on Wednesday.

Fifty or more firefighters put in an afternoon getting it under control.

“Knock on wood, that’s our first one,” said Champlain Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Pete Timmons in a phone interview Friday afternoon. “Let’s hope that’s our last.” 

It wasn’t the first the Champlain fire company helped put out this season, though.

Over the past few weeks, a number of fires sparked in fields and forest in Clinton County, and Timmons’s department has responded as mutual aid — as have many others — to put them out. 

“It’s very dry out there, and stuff that turns green has not turned green yet, and there is high potential for fires to start and grow quickly,” Clinton County Emergency Services Director Eric Day said on Friday.

HOUSE, BARN BURNS

A blistering blaze Friday underscored his words when a vacant house and barn in Chazy were destroyed in short order.

The first call to Chazy Volunteer Fire Department at 11:54 a.m. was for a possible wildland fire. But firefighters arrived at the location near the intersection of Reynolds and Lake Shore roads to find the buildings fully involved, Chazy Fire Chief Mike Cahoon said. 

Departments from Beekmantown, West Chazy, Mooers, Altona, Champlain and Rouses Point provided assistance, though an initial call for a tanker task force was canceled after personnel was able to draw water from nearby Lake Champlain to douse the flames. 

FIRE BAN CONTINUES

A statewide ban on open fires remains in effect until May 15.

All open burning is prohibited in the state except barbecue grilling with propane, charcoal or untreated wood; small campfires with untreated wood; burning organic agricultural waste; and disposal of a flag or religious items; as well as a few other circumstances, according to the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

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