Elmira/Corning Regional Airport

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Brush Fire Risk Rampant

Brush Fires Rampant

HORSEHEADS (WENY) -- After a frigid and long Winter, neighbors are finding dried up leaves and grass that was hidden under inches of snow. That's creating the perfect conditions for a brush fire to spread quickly.
    "The winds are high, the winds are changing, it's very dry, the under brush is very dry and so it can spread rapidly," explained Town and Country Fire Chief Don Fischer.
     Brush fires can start from something as simple as a cigarette tossed to the side of the road like in South Corning earlier this week. Chief Fisher says they haven't responded to too many fires, but it's still early in the season.
     "You can have one, you can have ten, you can have none of them and people just don't realize it's a physical labor job and we don't have a lot of people sometimes," said Fischer.
     And although a there's a ban on residential brush burning, that doesn't stop everyone.
     "The biggest thing we find when we go to these fires is people will burn their leaves or have a burn barrel and they'll walk away and think it's contained," said Chief Fischer.  "The wind shifts and next thing you know, they've caught the field on fire and then we have to come and put it out."
     Costing the fire starter hefty fines upwards of 500-dollars.
     So what can you do to help reduce the risk of brush fires?
     The American Red Cross offered these tips online:
     - Learn about wild fire risks in your area
     - Set aside tools like a rake you can use to fight small fires before first responders arrive
     - And Create an emergency preparedness kit.