Hot, dry conditions increase fire risk in the Piedmont Triad

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- The Greensboro Fire Department has determined the cause for a string of Monday grass fires along U.S. 29.

Assistant Chief Dwayne Church said the official cause was the improper disposal of smoking materials, probably a cigarette. Dry conditions and several 90 degree days didn't make conditions any better.

Assistant Fire Marshal Don Hinshaw, with the High Point Fire Department, said while brush fires aren't common in the Triad during summer months, he's not surprised they're happening this week.

"Everything is drying out and once a spark lands it hasn't got a chance but to burn," Hinshaw explained. "[The grass] becomes more susceptible to spark ignition, open flames such as matches or smoking materials and at that point we can have a fire."

During hot, dry periods, Hinshaw said homeowners should think twice before disposing of a match or cigarette, or starting an outdoor fire. Additionally, if you use charcoal for a fire, don't just throw it in the woods and think it's extinguished. Hinshaw said charcoal can lay dormant up to a week or more and could still become an ignition source for grass.

For more fire safety tips, visit the National Fire Protection Association website.