By: Chelsea Priest
The April showers never really came this year, we saw less than half of the normal rainfall. While many of us are enjoying the sunny and dry conditions, local fire departments are on alert as brush fires are igniting and spreading rapidly.
A normal April brings about 4.5 inches of rain. This year we saw just over 1.5 inches, creating some dangerously dry conditions. Thursday, a brush fire sparked in Swansea and spread to four acres in just minutes. Swansea Fire Chief Peter Burke explains, "What you see out there burned, that was in a 10–15 minutes period. So it shows you have to get here quick try and put a lot of holes in the ground and try to get around these fires."
Another fire in Barrington last weekend was determined to be caused by a flicked cigarette. It burned three quarters of an acre in minutes. Lt. Scott Carroll from the Barrington Fire Department speaks of the dry conditions, "The dry ground, we don't have leaves on the trees yet, should we get some rain it would dry up very quickly since there is no shade. Nothing has greened up yet so it's not holding the moisture in the ground very well."
Local fire departments stress that you should not start any camp fires or be burning anything in or near the dry ground, as fires can get out of control quickly with these conditions. If you do need to burn something have water and a rake close by to control the flame. Also, be mindful of discarding cigarettes and matches as it takes only one spark to ignite acres.