Editorial: Watch those ashes

wilt-cigarette-2Compared to California, which is suffering with a severe, prolonged drought, Wilton is lush with the green of spring. A drive by lakes, reservoirs and rivers finds them full.

But don’t be deceived. It is dry out there.

The National Weather Service has issued several red flag warnings that indicate a high fire danger. “Gusty northwesterly winds and low humidities combined with dry fuels will produce explosive fire growth conditions this afternoon and evening,” the weather service said on Wednesday. With humidity levels throughout the area — from New Hampshire to New York and New Jersey — as low as 26%, any fires could spread rapidly and be difficult to put out.

Last week a dramatic truck fire caused havoc throughout town as electric wires had to be de-energized and Route 7 traffic ground to a halt. Just a few days before that, the Wilton Fire Department was called out for several brush fires, which they quickly extinguished. But it does not take much for them to spread.

When asked if these types of fires spring up spontaneously, Wilton fire Chief Ron Kanterman said no, most likely they are caused by a carelessly tossed cigarette.

Red flag warnings also mean you may not burn any brush. Brush burning — leaf burning is prohibited — requires a permit. Call Fire Marshal David Kohn (203-834-6249) or email david.kohn@wiltonct.org for details.

Imagine a runaway spark on a day with a red flag warning. Fires do not start by themselves. In just a few days we will be revving up our barbecues. Make sure any ashes are disposed of in a fireproof container.

Please be careful.

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