BRATTLEBORO — It was a busy day for firefighters across the region as many fire departments in the area responded to four different brush fires.
There was fires reported in Hinsdale, N.H., and in Guildford, Townshend and Halifax.
“You get extremely low humidity, a good strong sun, and it’s just prime conditions for brush fires,” said Townshend Fire Chief Glen Beattie, one of the responding lead firefighters.
In Hinsdale, crews battled a brush fire on Route 119 near the Tractor Supply store.
Hinsdale Fire Chief Terry Zavorotny said a bystander that tried to help put the fire out suffered minor burns. The person was taken to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, as was a firefighter for an unknown cause.
The cause of the first-alarm fire is under investigation, but Zavorotny echoed what many of the other fire chiefs were saying about the string of fires that occurred over the past 24 hours: Having a fire of any size right now is dangerous because of the current dry weather conditions.
According to AccuWeather, a dry air-mass will remain over Southern Vermont today with minimum relative humidity values dropping into the 15 to 20 percent range by midday. Winds will be from the east to southeast at 5 to 15 mph with a few gusts up to 25 mph. Fires could quickly grow and get out of control Wednesday because of how dry the air will be in the afternoon.
The winds and dry conditions played a role in a brush fire in Townshend, where the wind rekindled an old permitted brush pile fire from over a month ago at a residence on Deer Valley Road.
Beattie said that the brush pile had been dormant for almost a month, and it just took off because the conditions were just right.
Beattie said that, right now, it doesn’t take much at all to ignite a brush fire anywhere.
“We’ve had steady wind for the last month or so, it seems like, so that’s really helped dry everything out,” said Beattie.
Beattie said people should not have fires at this time. One ember can get carried 20 feet by the wind and drop down, and two or three days later can cause a brush fire.
If you had a large brush fire over the winter months, Beattie recommends you keep an eye on it, and watch if you have any smoke. If it starts smoking, put water on it right away.
Vernon Fire Chief Alex Dunklee, in a statement about the structure fire that happened Monday night, talked about how a spark led to a brush fire that consumed the back end of the building.
“Due to continued dry surface and wind conditions, area residents are reminded to check with their local fire wardens prior to burning, and to obtain a permit if conditions allow for burning,” said Dunklee.