Could Dangerous Wildfires Happen In Connecticut? | Connecticut Public Radio

Could Dangerous Wildfires Happen In Connecticut?

Nov 19, 2018

California is still reeling from the deadliest wildfires in that state's history. Connecticut's wildfires are much smaller in comparison. 

According to Rich Schenk, fire control officer for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, that's in part because of the kind of vegetation growing near the forest floor.

"That shades the forest floor and that shading of the forest floor shades the fuels, making the moisture high, so the fires don't get as large or as big," he said.

But that could change. Speaking on Connecticut Public Radio's Where We Live, Schenk said recent bug infestations have made Connecticut forests vulnerable to larger, potentially deadly fires.

"We have emerald ash borer that's wiping out our ash trees," he explained. "In the eastern part of the state, spreading into the central part of the state, we have gypsy moth defoliation. There are large tracts of land that we are really concerned about because the canopy is gone. So our spring fire season when the sun is beating down on the ground there, that's going to continue right through our dry summer months."

Schenk said even a small fire can be problematic because of the large number of homes in Connecticut that are built in dense forest areas.