- Associated Press - Sunday, July 3, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is warning residents and visitors that fire risk will be high over the holiday weekend.

Dry conditions over the past several weeks are being blamed for the heightened risk. DEEP officials are urging the public to take special care when using sparklers, fireworks and other potentially flammable materials.

Although some parts of the state received rain in recent days, DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee says the forest fire danger “will remain at high or above until we get a good statewide soaking.”

Klee says defoliation caused by gypsy moth caterpillars has left many trees bare, especially in southeastern Connecticut. He says that allows more sunlight to reach the forest floor and create drier conditions that can make flames spread more rapidly.

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