Weekend to bring warm weather


WOODFORD — The National Weather Service predicts a sunny, dry weekend with trends to follow into the beginning of next week.

Gary Hoag, Woodford fire warden, issued a burn ban on Thursday. The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, National Weather Service, Green Mountain National Forest and Vermont Department of Public Safety also released information about open burning. Woodford is the only town with an active ban thus far.

Meteorologist John Quinlan of the National Weather Service expects mild temperatures of high 60 degree weather on Saturday and low 60s on Sunday.

"It looks like it will be warm again on Monday and upper 60s and then it will cool down mid-week down to mid-50s in the wake of a cold front that's expected to move through on Monday and Tuesday," he explained.

About 75 percent of all fires typically occur in April and May and can get out of control quickly in dry conditions, according to the release. When dead grass, leaves and brush are dried out from sunshine, they can act as fuel for wildland and brush fires. With low humidity and lack of rain, it is easy for fires to break out. The National Weather Services predicts similar conditions this coming weekend.

Out of other towns in Bennington County, Manchester Fire Warden Lawrence Grant said he hadn't gotten notice of a ban, but that could change by the weekend. Burning is currently allowed in this area.

Warden Craig O'Dell in Pownal also hadn't heard of a notice and will allow burning until the state says otherwise.

Hoag said there hasn't been any brush fires in Woodford this year yet. He also hasn't granted permits recently, but did a few weeks ago before snow returned.

"This is the most dangerous time of the year, I can't understand how the forest service does it," he said. "Usually, everybody has a cell phone and they'll call me [if something happens] or they'll call the Bennington Rural Fire Department."

In order to perform an open burn, the town Forest Fire Warden must be notified and a permit must be acquired. The warden has the right to restrict burning during unsafe weather conditions, the release stated. When burning natural vegetation, one must clear the area around the burning pile, have a hose, shovel or rake to control the fire and never leave it unattended.

Two years ago a resident burned without a permit, Hoag said, and managed to ignite over 11 acres before it was under control by emergency personnel.

There is no cost for an open burn and campfire permit in Woodford, but Hoag must be contacted first.

In Shaftsbury, Gerald Mattison said he's mostly concerned about loose leaves and dry grass, but not big logs or trees.

"There's a lot of potential for a ban through the weekend," he said. "People will be out cleaning their yards. We haven't had any brush fires yet."

Mattison received a warning this morning about relative humidity and being in a danger zone. Shaftsbury does not charge for a burning permit.

Quinlan said there will be light and variable winds this weekend with 15 to 25 mile-per-hour gusts after potential precipitation on Monday.

To locate your local fire warden visit http://fpr.vermont.gov/forest/fires/monitoring.

— Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.


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