ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — As wildfires rage on in the western part of our state, local fire officials are taking precautions to keep flames from sparking in the Piedmont.
The fire marshal’s office in Rockingham County is asking people to avoid any outside burning.
On Monday afternoon alone, firefighters responded to three brush fires within the span of about an hour. The dry conditions combined with a slight breeze can turn a spark into a flame.
“The thumped cigarette out the window, the vehicle that goes down the road, dragging a safety chain from a trailer, that’s creating a spark that can ignite these fires,” said Rodney Cates, director of Rockingham County Emergency Services.
The 19 fire departments across Rockingham County had a busy weekend. Between 6:00 a.m. Saturday and 6:00 p.m. Sunday, firefighters responded to 27 fire-related calls.
“That’s a very high call volume for the fire service over that time period and it’s just a strain on all the resources and the manpower,” said Cates.
Those fires included brush, structure and vehicle fires.
“Some of the brush fires actually prompted the structure fires because they spread into a structure and set some barns and things of that nature on fire,” said Cates.
With dry conditions and low humidity, i doesn’t take much for a small flame to turn into a forest fire.
Henderson County is under a state of emergency as flames take over hundreds of acres of land near Hendersonville, forcing dozens of people to evacuate.
“We have those same conditions,” said Cates. “We are just fortunate that we’ve not had that spark that created it.”
It’s why fire officials in Rockingham County are recommending everyone hold off on any outdoor burns so no small brush fires get out of control.
“Our fire service has been able to extinguish those but we and all the counties within this area could certainly have the same situation that the western counties are having right now,” said Cates.
The burn avoidance is in place until further notice. County leaders said we’ll need to see a large rain before they lift it.