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Red Flag Warning issued in 13 Md. counties

Fire officials urge people to be careful with any outdoor burning

September 08, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION

Extremely dry conditions and windy weather caused the issuance Wednesday of a Red Flag Warning because of an "explosive" fire threat in 13 counties, including Washington and Frederick counties, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Fire officials urged people to be careful with any outdoor burning, and they said the smallest spark could start a fire under the current conditions.

There were several brush fires Wednesday in Washington County, and about eight acres of cut cornfield burned off Leitersburg Pike and Herman Myers Road.

Firefighters battled a large mountain fire Wednesday night near Point of Rocks, Md., in Frederick County, according to a 911 dispatcher. The fire was burning on three sides of a mountain and firefighters had been battling the blaze for about four hours as of 8:15 p.m, the dispatcher said.

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The cornfield fire off Leitersburg Pike was started by a piece of farm machinery, Leitersburg Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Kirk Mongan said.

It took about 1 1/2 hours to put out the fire, Mongan said.

The Red Flag Warning, issued by the National Weather Service, came as the region experienced a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures, according to a news release.

Drought conditions across the state have lead to an increase in wildfire potential, the release said.

The conditions that lead to the warning are expected to ease some Thursday, but forecasters are not calling for any rain until Saturday night.

"Man, there should not be any open burning," Mongan said.

The smallest spark, like one from a cigarette, could be enough to start a fire, Maugansville Goodwill Volunteer Fire Co. Chief William Garrett said.

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