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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fires in the west and rain in the east at least for now!

Officials say destructive New Mexico fire was caused by hot auto parts

CNN) -- A wildfire in New Mexico that consumed hundreds of acres east of the capital was started by pieces of a hot catalytic converter from a vehicle, according to the state's forestry division.

Video: Silver City neighborhood destroyed KOBTV4

Fire crews in New Mexico are mopping up a wildfire that raced across nearly 1,800 acres and burned 13 houses and 47 other buildings.
About 100 people forced out by the wind-driven flames were escorted into their neighborhoods Tuesday evening to survey damage left from the fire that started Monday afternoon south of Silver City.

Here is a link to news of the recent NM wildfire. Watch the video to see a professional rather than an emotional job of reporting!

Eventhough folks in the west are talking about fire season getting off to an early start those of us in the East and SE already know this all to well. The recent rains have helped calm things down BUT it wont take the March winds to get us quickly back into "fire season"

Here is a news release set to go out later today and hopefully make the news over the weekend or monday after the present storm event has passed.

News Release
For Immediate Release                                                             March 10, 2011
Contact: John Campbell 434.220.9070 or 434.989.0665                      VDOF 11009
Rain ‘Dampens’ Spring Wildfire Season

On the heels of a significant week of wildfire activity in Virginia (Feb 14th - Feb 21st), t
he recent rains could create a false sense that wildfires are no longer a threat.  But they still are, according to a state wildfire mitigation specialist.
“Weather conditions of the same type that led to the 293 wildfires that burned 8,436 acres that week will continue throughout the remainder of Virginia’s spring wildfire season, which runs through the end of April,” said Fred Turck, wildfire prevention and education specialist with the Virginia Department of Forestry.  “Around the 1st of May, grasses and other vegetation will have greened up and the high winds and low humidity that are typical of springtime in the Commonwealth will begin to moderate. December through February was particularly dry for much of Virginia; the recent rain, while welcome and much-needed, was not enough to lift the region completely out of the wildfire danger,” he said.
John Miller, VDOF’s director of resource protection, said, “We’re in the heart of the wildfire time-frame.  From February to May, there is significant wildfire activity in Virginia that doesn’t let up until the green vegetation and rains come.  And even then, the ground has to get good and saturated for the wildfire threat to subside.”
Turck said, “A nice, steady rain every five days or so is just what Smokey would order if he could control that.”

State Forester of Virginia Carl Garrison said, “Wildfire suppression forces with the Virginia Department of Forestry along with county, city and volunteer fire departments across the Commonwealth earned a well-deserved respite with today’s rain.  But they know all to well that they are not ‘out of the woods’ just yet.  They remain vigilant and prepared to protect people, their property and Virginia’s precious natural resources from the ravages of wildfire.”
Sam Roberts, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the rain systems moving through the area will help firefighter’s combat flames. But, it doesn’t mean the area is out of fire danger. “Just because it rains doesn’t mean you’re clear,” he said. “All it takes is a few days of drier conditions and winds….  Right now, all this rain is good, but that doesn’t mean it [drier conditions] can’t pick back up.”
Virginians should protect their lives and property by clearing brush near their home; keeping pine needles off their roofs and out of their gutters, and do their part and not let a wildfire start.  Also, obey the statewide 4 PM Law (no open-air burning between midnight and 4 p.m. each day) and all local restrictions.
Turck said, “More than 95 percent of Virginia’s wildfires are caused by human activity.  So, listen to those you admire -- like Smokey Bear – and don’t play with fire.  When it’s raining, wildfire isn’t probably on your mind.  But, please, take a moment to learn what you can do to prevent a wildfire from starting.  It takes just a few minutes to learn when and how you can safely burn, as well as how you can protect your life and your property from the threat of a wildfire.”
The following websites can help:

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