Dry Conditions Cause More Brush Fires

Brush fires have been reported in East Haddam, East Windsor, and Fairfield.

By William Smith, Liz Dahlem and Ryan Hanrahan
|  Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012  |  Updated 7:24 AM EDT
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Fire officials from 13 towns are monitoring a large brush fire that has burned at least 24 acres in East Haddam overnight.

Fire officials from 13 towns are monitoring a large brush fire that has burned at least 24 acres in East Haddam overnight.

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Fire officials in several communities in Connecticut have battled brush fires over the last two days because of dry conditions. 

The largest of the fires consumed more than 50 acres in Devil's Hopyard State Park in East Haddam and fire officials made the decision to let the fire burn.

Fire officials from 14 towns monitored the large brush fire since Monday evening.

To protect two houses on Jones Hill Road that were threatened, firefighters burned out the area behind them and now believe the houses are safe.

The fire started around 7:30 p.m. on Monday in the southeast part of the park and firefighters contained it to a steep and rocky section of the park, where it burned through brush that has dried out in recent weeks.

What caused the fire is not clear, but officials said humans may have caused it because there were hikers in the park.

Hours later, another brush fire sparked on a golf course in Fairfield, then along North Road in East Windsor.

Fire crews were expecting a busy day given the dry conditions, mixed with low humidity and wind.

“The wind it will just take this fire and run with it,” said Fire Chief James Barton of Warehouse Point. “It's a lot of work it's a lot of havoc on the guys,”

Red flag fire danger warnings are in effect from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. because of dry conditions and wind.

State officials said the spring fire season started about three weeks early because of the unseasonable warmth in recent weeks. Tropical Storm Irene and the freak October nor'easter brought down so many trees, so brush remains on the ground and can fuel flames.

Most brush fires start because of humans and state officials said there is a ban on burning because of the fire danger.

“Residents need to know that any permit to burn brush is not valid when the forest fire danger is rated high, very high, or extreme,” said DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette.  “Anyone spotting a forest fire should remain calm and dial 911 to report the fire as quickly as possible to the local fire Department.” 

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