Rain providing brief reprieve from fire danger, drought conditions

OLD MYSTIC & EAST LYME, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s been a while since water has been seen flowing down streets in southeastern Connecticut and it’s something firemen and farmers like to see.

Karen and Tom Scott who own Scott’s Yankee Farmer in East Lyme did a lot of irrigating this summer. Some of their sweet corn suffered when the heat caused it to ripen quicker than they could sell it.

“I bet I skipped ten sections,” says Scott. “Because of the heat.”

rain drought 1 Rain providing brief reprieve from fire danger, drought conditionsFor them Tuesday’s slow, steady rain is welcome. It soaks into the soil and can actually benefit next year’s crops. Scott says, this year, rainfall is down about sixteen inches.

“It builds up in the soil,” says Scott. “The trees aren’t drawing any water now. So they’re not taking any away from us.”

Last summer Gales Ferry firefighters used hoses to soak land off of Route 12 after a brush fire burned ten acres. Old Mystic Fire provided mutual aid.

Old Mystic’s Chief Kenneth Richards says the high fire danger has meant they’ve put the brakes on issuing burn permits to residents.

“We haven’t given one out in probably three weeks,” says Chief Richards.

Today’s rain may provide a brief reprieve from the drought conditions and fire danger.rain drought 2 Rain providing brief reprieve from fire danger, drought conditions

“Today the fire danger is moderate and the air quality is good,” says Chief Richards.

But how long that lasts depends on what happens immediately after the rain stops.

“If it’s sunny and we have a breeze tomorrow that upper layer of the leaves can dry out very quickly and the fire danger can go from moderate or low to high or extreme within a matter of 24 hours,” explains Richards.

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