Firefighters monitor dry conditions as the number of outside fires grow

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Firefighters say heat from a blown tire caused a series of fires in a grassy area along Interstate 85.

It happened near the mile marker 117.  According to officials, about four to five fires quickly spread along the shoulder of the highway, taking firefighters about 40 minutes to put it out.

"It was challenging to get resources in all of those areas at the same time,” said Capt. Derek Carson, of the Pinecroft-Sedgefield Fire District.

Carson says the heat from a blown tire was hot enough to start a fire.

"Right now, it is getting more common with the dry conditions,” he said. "We are monitoring every outside fire in our area just to be aware what's going on, so we can quickly deploy resources as we need them."

The department has brush trucks and tankers ready in case it happens again.

In November, Guilford County and Greensboro fire departments responded to 124 outside fires.  This is up from the 84 calls in October.

"It doesn't take much so that's why we want to educate the public that what's going on is extremely important right now,” Carson said.

Pinecroft-Sedgefield officials spent part of the Tuesday calling people with burn permits reminding them that there is a burn ban in place.

According to the North Carolina Forest Service, a violation of the ban carries a $100 fine plus court costs of $180.