Fire Chief Michael Mansfield said the recent rainfall has certainly made fire conditions safer but several more inches are needed before this rainfall dries up in order to avoid a possible rash of forest fires this summer.
“The significant rain that we had is very welcome. But we’re still below our averages,” said Mansfield.
The lack of a snow pack this year combined with dry weather has made the possibility for wildfires much greater in the coming months. The hurricane and October snowstorm also provided increased amounts of dead branches on the forest floor, making more fuel for wildfires.
But unless several more inches of rainfall come before this rain dries up, it will do nothing to quell the larger issue of a dry summer, and a possible rash of brush and forest fires.
Mansfield said this rain can be dried up with several hot days in a row and bring back dry conditions. High air temperatures, low humidity and high wind are the three factors that will exacerbate the dry conditions caused by a lack of rainfall.
The chief said that if the region does not receive the rainfall it needs within the late spring and early summer, area residents can expect the danger of significant wildfires this summer.
“This [the recent rainfall] certainly helps but we’re not anywhere out of the woods so to speak,” said Mansfield.