GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — This week’s rain was the first measurable rain the Triad has seen since Hurricane Matthew — almost two months. The rain was sorely needed, especially for crews battling wildfires in western North Carolina.
A burn ban is still in place for 47 counties in the state. David Masters, Guilford County Ranger with the North Carolina Forest Service, says the rain was not enough to lift the ban.
“So while we got some rain last night, those fuels after all the sun we’ve had today, those are dry now today and they are available now to burn,” Masters said.
Masters says he and fire departments around the county have responded to a lot of illegal burns since the ban went into effect. He says a common misconception is that a small amount of rain will make it safe for people to burn leaves and other brush again.
He says burning is still very dangerous and it takes a very large amount of rain to reduce the risk of big logs and branches catching fire. “Some of those fuels need a 100 or a 1,000 hours of continuous exposure to rainfall for them to become so moist that they are not going to burn,” he said.
Rangers don’t know when the burn ban will be lifted. They say that date will most likely depend on the weather.