Above: Fire trucks on Division Road at the West Greenwich line Wednesday. Photo by Stephen Susi
East Greenwich firefighters joined firefighters from several other departments Wednesday to fight fires in Coventry and West Greenwich, including one just over the East Greenwich line in the Big River Reservoir Area.
A 150-acre blaze in West Greenwich has been particularly troublesome, with fire officials anticipating helicopter water drops Thursday morning, a rare occurrence in Rhode Island.
EG Fire Chief Bernie Patenaude said the combination of the time of year, unusually warm temperatures, low humidity and strong winds have made conditions especially prone to brush fires. This time of year can be challenging any year, because the area has not greened up yet and conditions can be dry. This year has proven harder than most.
“We don’t usually have brush fires in the state but the conditions are ripe right now,” Patenaude said.
He urged residents to avoid burning brush or using outdoor fire pits for the next couple of weeks – anything that could throw off sparks. Patenaude said cigarettes were another danger point right now and said people should be extinguishing them in their ashtrays, not dropping them out the car window, even if they look like they are out.
“Try to be careful,” he said. “The next couple weeks are going to be critical. Until things start to bloom … it’s going to be tough for us.”