BENNINGTON, Vt. -- A dry winter and an equally dry spring have been keeping local firefighters busy putting out wildfires, some of which have burned 10 acres at a time. No real property damage has been reported, or injuries.
Joseph Hayes, chief of the Bennington Rural Fire Department, said his crews have fought at least two blazes that burned a combined 10 acres on Vale Road and Horn Road. "For the beginning of spring, it's high for the acreage we lost," he said.
A two-week burn ban was lifted Monday, he said. The department will generally go to investigate reports of smoke, but if things get too hectic, he said, the fire wardens will put a ban into effect.
Chief Adam Cadogni, of the Readsboro Fire Department, said 25 firefighters were in a field off Phelps Lane in Whitingham Wednesday battling a fire that consumed 10 acres of a field and a section of woods. He said the call came in around 2:30 p.m. and firefighters from his department, Stamford, Whitingham, and Florida Mountain, Mass., were there until 6 p.m. He said it was the first for them this year and he hopes the last.
Joe Vadakin, chief of the Shaftsbury Fire Department, said his people were on the Potter Montgomery Road Wednesday for a fire that burned about an acre. They have had about three wildfires in Shaftsbury this spring, each damaging about an acre each.
He said it has been a dry, early spring, and with there being little snow over the winter, there is no run-off to help moisten the woods.
The National Weather Service has forecast rain for next week, he said, which he hopes will keep the woods somewhat fire resistant.
Hayes said he thinks a bad year for wildfires can be avoided if people who choose to burn outdoors follow a few guidelines. He said do not burn on dry, windy days, and keep the fires small. "People have to watch the wind," he said. "That's what gets a lot of people."
The fires the rural department has been to have been caused by controlled burns where the wind changed direction unexpectedly or picked up.
Each department said they have the gear and training to handle the wildfires. Hayes said it's not unusual for any firefighter with an all-terrain vehicle to be called to a scene when the fire is off in the woods and hard to access.