Rash of brush fires and dry weather prompt call for no outdoor burning

Area residents are being asked to abstain from outdoor burning.

Schoharie County firefighters were called out to battle brush fires in four towns on Thursday alone, prompting a fire official to request citizens abstain from open burning until significant rainfall minimizes the risk of more fires.

County Fire Coordinator Matt Brisley said firefighters responded to brush fires in the towns of Carlisle, Cobleskill, Sharon and Broome on Thursday.

Similar fires took place in the towns of Seward, Sharon Springs, Middleburgh and Wright throughout the week, Brisley said.

Brisley said the sunny weather is bringing more people outdoors to clean up brush from the December ice storm and some are tossing the debris in burn piles and burn barrels, increasing the risk of causing a fire.

“People do not realize how dry the top layer, leaves and dead vegetation, is right now,” Brisley said in a statement Friday.

The National Weather Service on Friday issued a “Red Flag” warning for numerous counties including the entire Capital Region due to “critical fire weather” conditions.

These conditions include an extended period of dry weather, warm temperatures, low relative humidity dropping below 20 percent, winds up to 20 mph and wind gusts as high as 35 mph.

The National Weather Service in an advisory said these factors combined create an “explosive fire growth potential.”

Earlier today, the National Weather Service issued a “red flag warning” for all of eastern New York and western New England. The alert begins at 1 p.m. and continues through 8 p.m.

The region’s extended period of dry weather, along with very low relative humidity and west to northwest winds of 15 to 20 mph but gusting to 30 to 35 mph, will combine to produce critical fire weather conditions, the agency said.

The warning applies to Herkimer, Fulton, Montgomery, Saratoga, Warren, Washington and Schoharie counties. Hamilton County is excluded because much of the county still has snow cover.

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