Officials: Wildfire risk in caterpillar-affected areas
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A bumper crop of caterpillars that’s been munching through leaves around southern New England is now being blamed for heightened risk of wildfire.
Rhode Island environmental officials say high temperatures and dry weather conditions mean residents should use extra caution near forested areas that have been defoliated due to the high number of gypsy moth caterpillars this year.
The Department of Environmental Management says any outdoor fire is a potential danger. It’s reminding people to make sure charcoal is cold before being discarded and reminding smokers to use ashtrays. It also says dirt bikes and ATVs should be in good condition to minimize sparks.
The gypsy moth is also blamed for an outbreak of rashes. Their hairs can cause an allergic-type reaction on the skin that lasts for days.