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Continued Dry Conditions Elevate Fire Danger

Wildfire risk remains high


Annapolis, Md. (April 12, 2012) – Continuing dry conditions across the State have led to an increase in the number of wildfire occurrences and a higher risk of fire danger. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) urges citizens to use caution when participating in any outdoor activity that could spark a wildfire and recommends that all open-air burning be postponed at this time.

“Currently, the combination of warm temperatures, low humidity, high winds and dry forests have caused many wildfires to quickly burn out of control,” said DNR Fire Supervisor Monte Mitchell. “Elevated fire conditions in Maryland have been in effect for more than a week and are expected to continue through the weekend.”

Outdoor burning remains the leading cause of wildfires in Maryland, accounting for more than 30 percent of incidents. Other causes include arson, children playing with fire and equipment use. Lightning is the only natural source of fire ignition, but accounts for less than 2 percent of wildfire starts in Maryland.

The Department currently recommends that all outdoor burning be postponed until after a significant rainfall of at least one inch. Even then, it should only occur on low fire danger days in accordance with DNR’s Open Air Burning Regulations for all activities in or near woodlands, located at

Homeowners also have a responsibility to ensure they are prepared for a wildfire. Creating an area of clear and open space at least 30 feet surrounding the home and outbuildings serves as a safety zone around the structures. Within this space, plants should be controlled and the area should be free of dead debris, leaves and flammable vegetation to prevent a wildfire from spreading from the forest to the structure. Maintaining a green space landscaped with fire resistant vegetation improves the safety zone. All households should also prepare a disaster plan.

More information on wildland fire management is available at

   April 12, 2012

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at