'Utmost' care urged with fire risk still high

November 26, 1998

Cloudy skies and cooler weather helped quench Maryland wildfires yesterday, but state officials said the fire risk will be extremely high all weekend and urged hikers and hunters to "take the utmost precautions" in the woods.

High winds triggered a rash of wildfires Tuesday, when 19 fires charred 170 acres -- more than triple the acreage burned in all of November 1997.

Yesterday was calmer, with four fires in Allegany, Prince George's and St. Mary's counties.

All the fires were under control by late yesterday.

Also yesterday, Rick Lillard, a state forestry official, said a fire that began Monday and burned 45 acres in Washington County may have been arson. "We've had other arson fires in past years, so we are strongly looking into arson," he said.

State officials are especially concerned about the risk of fire Saturday, when sunny weather combines with the beginning of the firearms hunting season for deer.

Pub Date: 11/26/98

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