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DNR Urges Caution During Outdoor Activities To Prevent Wildfires
Drought Conditions Increase Wildfire Danger
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forest Service urges citizens to use care in any outdoor activities that could spark a wildfire. Current drought conditions across much of the state increase wildfire danger.
The highest wildfire occurrence in Maryland typically occurs during the spring and fall. The fall fire season typically runs from mid-September to late December. Wildfire starts have been higher than average for the past three months. Response has been double the average for September and the first half of October with 99 wildfires occurring. The Maryland Forest Service has responded to 576 incidents in 2007 to date.
Forest Service officials strongly encourage homeowners to refrain from any outdoor burning until Maryland receives significant steady rainfall of at least one to two inches or more. Open-air burning is the leading cause of wildfires in Maryland. During dry conditions, embers can easily ignite dry leaves or other forest fuels and start a wildfire. Further restrictions may need to be put in place if the dry weather pattern continues.
Citizens are also urged to use care during outdoor recreational activities such as hunting, camping, and hiking. Discarding cigarettes or other smoking materials such as hot ashes or can ignite fires under these types of dry conditions. Campfires should never be left unattended and keep water close at hand to extinguish the fire.
“While at this time we are asking for voluntary cooperation, we are monitoring the situation daily to determine if formal restrictions may become necessary,” according to Monte Mitchell, State Fire Supervisor. “We encourage Maryland counties and municipalities to do the same, and to err on the side of safety when considering implementing restrictions.”
For additional information on wildfire prevention, visit www.dnr.maryland.gov/forests/fire/firewise.asp.
October 18, 2007
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov