Dry conditions are sparking brush fires


Dry conditions caused by a lack of significant rainfall have caused an increase in the number of brush and forest fires in the state, including a blaze that burned more than 20 acres of woodland Friday near Prettyboy Reservoir.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has no immediate plans to reinstate the burning ban it imposed statewide for six days this month, said spokesman Bob Graham. But state forestry officials were concerned that windy conditions this weekend might turn some activities, such as lighting a charcoal barbecue, into fire hazards.

"If we don't get rain in the next four, five or six days, we could be looking at [another ban]," Mr. Graham said. A ban might be statewide, localized to one or more counties or limited to certain hours of the day, he said.

Friday's fire along the Carroll County-Baltimore County line near Prettyboy Reservoir started about 3:45 p.m. and was smoldering late that night.

At its height, 40 firetrucks from Carroll and Baltimore counties and York and Adams counties in Pennsylvania were battling the blaze. Four DNR forest rangers provided technical assistance in fighting the fire, Mr. Graham said.

He said forestry officials have noticed more brush fires in recent days. Two acres of Greenbrier State Park in Washington County also burned Friday. Thursday, 10 acres of woodland burned in Laurel, and nearly 10 acres burned at Cunningham Falls State Park in Frederick County.

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