The high winds are causing a high fire danger. Despite the recent rains, the vegetation is starting to dry out in the wind. Add to that, many counties are dropping their burn bans. Property owners are taking advantage of the ability to burn, adding to fire crews' concerns.
The wind is the most dangerous factor, according to Friberg-Cooper VFD Firefighter Will Norris. "Many dangers come into effect. Sometimes the fire is moving too fast and we can't catch up to it. We have to get in front of it and try to protect all the exposures and concentrate on that and make sure no houses are in the way of the fire," he said.
The wind adds to concerns raised by many property owners taking advantage of the lift of burn bans. After months of prohibition, Gaylon White was happy to be able to clear debris off his property in the Cameron Gardens area. "We had a burn ban lifted, so we got out here and burned a bunch of stuff," he said.
White's home barely escaped the April 15, 2011 fire that tore through the area. "It missed the house by maybe 5 feet," he said. He's taking extra precautions while doing his burning. He used a water hose to douse a smoking compost pile.
Fire crews say the biggest concern is not from the controlled burns, but from discarded cigarette butts. Norris urges drivers to not throw them out. "The moisture did help, it did help a lot, but were not out of danger yet," he said.