Wildfire risk warnings in effect in state
Dry weather plus high winds pose threat
Elevated wildfire risks mean that people throughout most of Maryland including Montgomery, Prince George's, Frederick, Carroll, Charles, St. Mary's and Calvert counties should avoid open burning and be careful not to allow sparks from cigarettes, power equipment or cooking contact dry matter outdoors, weather and forestry officials said Thursday.
A moderate-to-severe drought combined with high winds and low humidity led to a red-flag alert on Wednesday, and conditions have improved only slightly since then and will not abate much until the area receives rain, Brian Lasorsa of the National Weather Service said Thursday.
Smoking, cooking and burning materials outdoors pose the possibility of igniting wildfires, said Monte Mitchell, state fire supervisor with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service.
"We're in some of the driest conditions we've experienced all year," Mitchell said. He urged people to be vigilant and avoid outdoor burning until the area receives at least an inch of rain.
On Wednesday, the Forest Service responded to a five-acre fire near Point of Rocks, Mitchell said.
The cause of the fire, which appeared to start near a cave near the C&O Canal, is under investigation, he said, adding that human activity is suspected because there was no lightning strike in the area.