DEEP issues new guidance as brush fires continue to spark across CT


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP/WTNH) — Spring fire season is upon us, and the season is off to a busy start.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a warning for critical fire weather conditions across much of southern New England on Saturday, given the strong winds and low relative humidity in the forecast.

Under NOAA’s “red flag” warning, any fires could spread rapidly and become difficult to extinguish.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said that Connecticut usually sees high forest fire danger in spring from mid-March through May.

And over these past few days, brush fires have popped up across the state due to the warmer weather and strong winds.

Just Saturday, a brush fire started at the Regional Water Authority’s Maltby Lakes property around 9:30 a.m. Firefighters from several departments were called in to get the fire under control.

And then, in North Branford, firefighters tackled a brush fire on Route 80.

On Saturday evening, the high fire danger led firefighters to battling a brush fire at Beacon Hill Preserve in Branford as well.

In addition, Saturday afternoon, firefighters in Suffield extinguished a shed fire in Hill Street, as well as a brush fire on Kent Avenue. Both fires were active at around the same time.

Also, on Friday, DEEP responded to two brush fires in Southbury and Meriden. They returned to those sites Saturday to monitor conditions.

DEEP Spokesman Will Healey said that caution is key this time of year.

“If you don’t need to start a fire on a day like today, don’t,” Healey said. “If people do, they need to be very, very careful that they’re not doing it near an open field or near a forest because it can spread very quickly and it’s very hard to contain or put out.”

He said if you have to light a fire, make sure you drown it with water. If you don’t have water, use sand or dirt.

Click here for more forest fire prevention tips.

In Connecticut, the red flag warning was issued Saturday for Hartford, Tolland, and Windham counties. It was also issued for all of Rhode Island and parts of Massachusetts.

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