MAINE, USA — Officials are urging caution at cookouts and campsites this holiday weekend to tamp down wildfires in New England.
Forest rangers asked campers to make sure their campfires are fully extinguished before leaving them. They also urged people to obey open burning laws and to obtain permits before burning brush.
Going into the weekend, the Maine Forest Service had responded to nearly 430 wildfires, a concerning number, said the Associated Press.
Dry conditions are contributing to fires and persisting despite the showery forecast this weekend. The drought monitor released Thursday shows parts of New Hampshire and Vermont are already in a moderate drought. While most of Maine is “abnormally dry.” Derek Schroeter, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service told the Associated Press, the city of Portland was about 4.8 inches below normal as of March 1, 2021.
According to the Associated Press, just this month, "a brush fire spread across nearly 1,000 acres in western Massachusetts and state officials said it was the state’s largest wildland fire in more than two decades." The region is coming off several months of dry weather.
Luckily, vegetation has begun to turn green and that will help to reduce the fire hazard as spring progresses.