Brush Fires Pop Up in Several Northeast States

Hiking prohibited in the Hudson Highland State Park Preserve



FISHKILL, N.Y. (AP) — Brush fires are popping up early in several Northeastern states after a relatively warm and dry winter.

Fire officials have asked residents in states including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Pennsylvania to be vigilant while burning brush and to completely drown coals when extinguishing them.

Brush fire season usually begins around the second or third week of March, but this year fires were reported as early as the second week of February.

Officials say dry vegetation from last year, low humidity, and the windy conditions of spring have created a higher risk of fire.

Several local agencies have converged on the Hudson Highland State Park Preserve in New York to control a blaze that has damaged several vehicles. There have not been any reported injuries.

Officials have prohibited hiking in the area and closed a nearby state highway.

Randy Metzger, chief of the Lehigh County Forest Fire Task Force in Pennsylvania, said the fire season could last until there is tree cover to provide shade in the forest.

In New Hampshire, firefighters fought brush fires Monday in several towns, including one fire that came within feet of a home.

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