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Wildfire Risk Heightened in Spring

Marylanders Urged to Take Precautions; Maryland Forest Service Prepared

Photo of firefighter battling a brush fire

Wildfire season has begun in the Old Line State, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources urges residents throughout the state to take precautions. Each year, the Maryland Forest Service responds to an average of 210 wildfires that burn about 2,325 acres.

Wildfires occur every month in Maryland, but peak in the spring and fall. During these two seasons the leaves are off the deciduous trees, allowing sunlight and wind to reach the forest floor and dry the leaves, brush, vegetation and other material that can catch fire. Even in normal weather conditions, the relative humidity of the air is also drier and, combined with a breeze, creates the conditions for wildfires to spread rapidly.

“Even with the occasional rain or snowfall, springtime sees drying forest fuels and gusty winds,” Maryland Forest Service State Fire Supervisor Monte Mitchell said. “Extra caution needs to be taken with outdoor burning and use of machinery that is gas-powered or could spark wildfires. It doesn’t take much for dry leaves or to ignite and become a serious problem.”

Homeowners can learn more about how to prevent outdoor fires from spreading and preparedness activities at the department’s Firewise Maryland page. 

Additionally, the Maryland Forest Service has participated in mobilizing wildland firefighters throughout the United States since 1974, as part of a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.