"The temperatures have been warm and dry, we haven't had any rain for almost two weeks and that combination really dries out the forest floor," said Steven Sinclair of the Vt. Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.
This makes for a high fire danger. Brush fires have been commonplace because of the dry weather as of late, and it's putting a burden on local fire departments.
"You're taking a dozen, 15 or more people on one brush fire and it leaves the rest of the community vulnerable for other calls that come in," said Charles Cole, the Essex fire warden.
Even though firefighters can often control a brush fire in a short time, it can take hours to completely extinguish the burning.
"There's a lot of peat moss built up from all of the leaves that have degraded, so the fires, when they start, they go underground, and it's very labor intensive to get down, dig around it, so that you can make sure it's out," Cole explained.
While we have seen numerous brush fires, experts tell us some factors are actually working in our favor.
"With high winds I think we would have seen exponentially more forest fires than we have so far. But the other thing in our favor is the forecast for rain and the fact that things are greening up," Sinclair said.
The new leaves and grass have a high moisture content, which slightly reduces fire danger, but they can also act as a temptation.
"The hard part is that a lot of homeowners see green grass in their backyard, wanna have a small cooking fire, just want to enjoy a Friday or Saturday night," Cole said.
Residents are not allowed to do any burning right now.
"All of the surrounding communities that I know of, Winooski, Colchester, Milton, certainly in Essex, we have a burn ban," Cole said.
And the burn ban could be in place for some time to come.
"Just because it might rain tomorrow or the next day doesn't mean the burn ban will necessarily be lifted," Cole said.
The bottom line is that the weather has been very dry, and it's going to take a good, soaking rain to significantly reduce the fire danger. Thankfully, some showery weather will return by the end of the week.
You could face a fine if you are caught burning without a permit.
Officials also remind smokers not to throw cigarettes out the window, because they can spark brush fires.
Tuesday, December 10 2013 12:42 AM EST2013-12-10 05:42:52 GMT
A busy night Monday at the Burlington city council meeting where redistricting the city was a major discussion. Population shifts have forced the city to remap Burlington's districts to create more equalMore >>
A busy night Monday at the Burlington city council meeting where redistricting the city was a major discussion.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 12:41 AM EST2013-12-10 05:41:52 GMT
Burlington considers plans for the run-down Moran Plant. For 25 years, the coal-fired power plant has stood empty on the Burlington waterfront. A proposed project -- called the "New Moran" -- would beMore >>
Burlington considers plans for the run-down Moran Plant.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 12:41 AM EST2013-12-10 05:41:12 GMT
A child playing with a lighter was responsible for a Champlain, New York apartment fire. That's according to the Champlain Fire Department. Firefighters arrived at this apartment complex at 25 SpruceMore >>
A child playing with a lighter was responsible for a Champlain, New York apartment fire. That's according to the Champlain Fire Department.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 12:39 AM EST2013-12-10 05:39:43 GMT
An equipment fire kept crews busy in Middlebury Monday. About 30 firefighters responded to a blaze at the Champlain Valley Equipment facility on Exchange Street. The Middlebury fire chief says there'sMore >>
An equipment fire kept crews busy in Middlebury Monday.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 12:35 AM EST2013-12-10 05:35:13 GMT
Police say a woman walked out of the WalMart in Williston with two stolen computers Monday.The suspect was caught on surveillance cameras. The HP Pavilion computers are worth more than $1,000. If youMore >>
Police say a woman walked out of the Wal Mart in Williston with two stolen computers Monday.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 10:26 PM EST2013-12-10 03:26:26 GMT
South Burlington is using a grant to tackle the slew of vacant properties near the airport.The city will use $17,000 for community outreach and research to make a plan for the homes. They were purchasedMore >>
South Burlington is using a grant to tackle the slew of vacant properties near the airport.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 8:51 PM EST2013-12-10 01:51:48 GMT
When it comes to education, teachers say they know what it takes to motivate students, and also what doesn't work -- including standardized testing, cookie cutter curriculums and what NEA President MarthaMore >>
The Vermont NEA unveiled its "Agenda for Student Success" proposal Monday, and it points to a new computer education program at one high school as the type of learning kids need.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 8:43 PM EST2013-12-10 01:43:09 GMT
"We are trying to create a few new affordable housing units so that people have a chance to move beyond shelter and regain their independence," said Rita Markley, Executive Director of the Committee onMore >>
COTS reaching out to Old North End neighbors in the development of new affordable housing and a daystation.More >>