Shannon Miller

High Fire Danger Comes As Derby Brush Fire Investigation Continues

Wind gusts and dry conditions put the state under a high risk for fire danger Friday. The risk has the fire marshal’s office in Derby working even harder to solve a pair of recent brushfires which could be connected to a years-long series of arson fires along Route 34.

“It was on Route 34 which there are no fire hydrants,” Phillip Hawks, Derby Fire Marshal said.

As fast as Hawks is working to solve the cause of city’s latest round of brushfires, so too is the risk for fire danger across the state.

Starting to get dry, you got a lot of old leaves on the ground,” Hawks said.

The DEEP Division of Forestry predicted high fire danger Friday with winds gusting 15 to 20 to up to 30 miles per hour.

The prediction comes nearly three weeks after a brush fire in the Cullens Hill area of Osborndale State Park that shut down part of Route 34. Moments later yet another brush fire popped up nearby.

“The only thing that was more of a concern was that you had two fires about half a mile or three-quarters apart from each other that started at the same time,” Hawks said.

Hawks says the cause of the dueling brush fires is still under investigation. He’s now looking into if the fires could be connected to a string of arsons that have happened along Route 34 for years.

“All the valley towns are looking into the fires to try to see if there's a connection between them or similarities,” Hawks said.

“If you see something you say something,” Dizett Hamilton said.

Hamilton, who works off Route 34 and visits Osborndale State Park, said if someone is responsible for the fires, they won’t get away with it forever.

“Hopefully someone will see something or if they see something suspicious they’ll report it,” Hamilton said.

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