EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island and Massachusetts remain under a red flag warning through Wednesday as a mix of dry and windy conditions increase the chance of fires spreading more quickly.
Fire officials are asking the public to avoid burning anything because of the risky conditions. Wind was a factor in a house fire in North Smithfield Tuesday.
Central Coventry Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Cady said it takes seconds for one ember to spark a fire.
“It gets going really fast especially with the wind,” Cady said.
Coventry’s fire department has a brush truck used specifically for the stubborn fires, which are hard to get to.
“It’s just easier to maneuver in the woods and get closer to where the fire is,” Coventry Fire Chief Frank Brown said.
The R.I. Department of Environmental Management (DEM) said firefighters have responded to more than five brush fires in recent days.
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“Even very careful people doing hard maintenance in their backyard, doing some debris burning, it’s very easily getting away,” Patrick MacMeekin, of the DEM’s Forest Fire Program, said. “Really what’s happening is the winds are blowing embers from that fire out of the fire pit into the leaves and the grass next to your fire pit and it’s just spreading, driven by the winds, mostly.”
Brown also said some wooded areas don’t have fire hydrants, which can complicate response efforts. Residents can protect themselves by cleaning up their yards and packing leaves up to protect their houses during dry periods.