Official: Spring burning stokes wildfire risk

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Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 2:45 am

While Iredell County hasn’t seen a large number of wildfires, forestry officials are urging caution with burning of lawn debris and leaves for the next few weeks.

“The rain has helped us out for the past couple of days,” said Iredell County Forest Ranger Dennis Floyd.

Still, he said, spring presents a high wildfire danger, and that will not ease up until mid-to-late April.

Locally, he said, people seemed to be heeding the warnings.

“Everybody that called for a burning permit last week, we asked them to hold off for a while,” Floyd said.

And, based on the small number of calls for wildfires, Floyd said, it appears people are listening. He said some areas of North Carolina have seen a number of wildfires, and two wildfires, one in the Gatlinburg, Tenn., area and another around Myrtle Beach, destroyed structures.

So far, Iredell County has escaped the more serious wildfires, and Floyd said he hopes that trend will continue. He said rain, which has come on a frequent basis in late February and thus far in March, has helped Iredell County keep those wildfires to a minimum, but it is still necessary to use caution for a few weeks.

The spring, Floyd said, presents a high fire danger because of low humidity and windy conditions that usually persist through April.

“Generally when the trees are leafed out, the humidity starts to go up and the winds die down,” he said. “That’s the official end to our fire season.”

If burning is necessary in the next few weeks, Floyd encouraged residents to wait until after a rain to burn.