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Warm Weather Sparks Brush Fire Worry

Brush Fire (file / credit: clipart.com)

Brush Fire (file / credit: clipart.com)

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POMONA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - Most people probably welcome the warm weather, except, maybe, for some local fire officials worried about the potential for more brush fires.

If you take a walk in the woods, the snap, crackle, and pop under your feet says it all.

With temperatures around 80, it is bone dry and conditions are just right for brush fires, according to Rockland County Fire Coordinator Gordon Wren.

“We worry when the humidity gets low and the winds pick up,” Wren told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams. “So right now until we get some rain and the leaves come out we’re at risk. We’re hoping later in the week, we’re going to get a decent rain.”

Because the tree tops are bare, shafts of sunlight bare down like lasers drying last year’s brush.

There have already been minor fires in New City, Pearl River, and Suffern.

In Tallman it’s believed teens playing with fireworks in the woods started a fire.

“Which is pretty dumb and irresponsible, I might add,” he said.

He says you should be smart and cautious. Watch your cigarettes and your cars. Even a hot tail pipe or catalytic converter can start a brush fire.

New Jersey is also warning about the increasing danger and WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot spoke with State Forester Lynn Fleming about the view from state’s the 21 fire towers.

“We have higher winds. We have a decrease in moisture and humidity in the air and and our trees still don’t have vegetation on them, which actually are somewhat of a buffer for us cause they have moisture in them,” Fleming told Cabot. “So, it really becomes a time when we start seeing an increase in fires.”

That’s why you’ll see the fire towers manned, even though they are something of a relic given the advent of cell phones and even radio.

“They are very old, still very valuable and useful. There are many states that have not been using them, but we find that they’re still an effective way for us to see when there’s smoke coming up to be able to identify and be able to dispatch someone quickly when there’s a fire,” she said.

She said that when the staff isn’t busy, they welcome the public to visit the towers and see what it’s all about.

By the way, forest fire watchers tell WCBS 880 that 95 percent of all wildfires in New Jersey are caused by human activity.