Firefighters battle pair of brush blazes

Season brings increase in threat of fires

March 07, 2000|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Brush fire season got an early start in Anne Arundel County yesterday with a pair of blazes -- one in Pasadena, the other in Glen Burnie.

The first blaze was reported just after midnight on North Carolina Avenue, in the Mountain Road peninsula's Boulevard Park community, and the other about 1 p.m. on North Shore Drive in Glen Burnie, said Battalion Chief John M. Scholz, a county fire department spokesman.

Each fire prompted two alarms, requiring about 20 firefighters to respond, Scholz said.

The cause of the fires remained under investigation yesterday.

Anything from an improperly extinguished cigarette to a spark from a piece of farm equipment can start a brush fire this time of the year, said Bob Hartlove, acting state fire supervisor for the Maryland Forest Service.

"The leading cause [of brush fires] in Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties is kids playing," he said.

The brush fire season begins at the end of March, Hartlove said. "We're about two weeks ahead of schedule with the warmer temperatures. Although the ground is fairly moist, relatively humidity has been as low as 15 percent the past few days."

The area is also about 3 inches short on rainfall, Hartlove said.

Statewide, about 18 forest and brush fires have been reported since Friday, he said.

Last year, 600 forest and brush fires burned 12,000 acres in Maryland, according to Forest Service records.

To prevent the fires, Hartlove recommends that people be especially careful with matches, tobacco products, farm equipment and disposal of ashes from wood-burning stoves.

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