Brush fire risk rises in Hudson Valley, officials say

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A patch of warm weather coupled with a dry spell has put the Hudson Valley at risk for brush fires, officials warned.

The past week has seen its share of fires, with a small blaze at Harriman State Park on Saturday and 5 acres singed during a Suffern fire Sunday. And with the forecast not calling for a sustained rainfall until at least Friday, authorities are urging residents to be vigilant and careful.

"Until the leaves are out and we get a decent rain, we're going to continue to get brush fires," said Rockland County fire coordinator Gordon Wren Jr. "The sun is so strong, it just pulls out the moisture."

Among other steps, those outside can prevent brush fires by not making campfires or cooking in portable fire pits, a Westchester County Department of Emergency Services spokesman said. Smokers also should make sure their cigarettes are fully extinguished before they're discarded.

Weather reports are calling for isolated showers Tuesday night and scattered rain in some areas Wednesday, said National Weather Service meteorologist Joey Picca. Temperatures, reaching into the 70s, will remain well above normal throughout Wednesday before dipping back into seasonal averages in the upper 50s Thursday.

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