Heightened risk of fires continues Wednesday

JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Several communities have banned open burning Wednesday as the region remains under a Red Flag Warning.

According to the Pinpoint Weather Team, the combination of dry weather and gusty winds could result in rapidly spreading fires that become difficult to extinguish.

The fire weather warning remains in effect until 6 p.m. and the risk will carry over to Thursday.

It’s expected to be dry and gusty throughout the day, so all outdoor burning should be avoided. It’s also important to properly discard lit cigarettes and make sure your home and landscaping are as fire resistant as possible.

Johnston Fire Chief Timothy McLaughlin said improper disposal of cigarettes is one of the biggest causes of brush fires.

Vital Safety Information: Preventing Brush, Grass, and Forest Fires »
Vital Safety Information: Preventing Brush, Grass, and Forest Fires »

“They don’t even realize that what they threw it in,” he explained. “It’s a matter of seconds before it starts to go. And once the wind catches it, the embers fly. The next thing you know you’re fighting a fire here, and then it’s a little down there and that part’s going. ”

The wind has the power to whip up small fires into infernos, as we saw recently with a house fire on Eaton Street in Providence. Firefighters were also busy this past weekend keeping brush fires in Cranston, West Warwick, and Providence from spreading to nearby homes.

“We extend a lot of manpower and a lot of equipment to into the woods to fight these fires,” the chief added.

When it comes down to it, McLaughlin said “it truly comes down to common sense.”

Our next chance for rain comes on Friday.

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