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Dry Conditions Threaten Crops, Brush Fires In Eastern Shore

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(Photo credit by NORBERTO DUARTE/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit by NORBERTO DUARTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Monique Griego 370x278 Monique Griego
Monique Griego joined the WJZ News Team in July 2011 as a General...
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EASTERN SHORE, Md. (WJZ)—High temperatures and low rainfall are creating problems in many parts of Maryland, from bad crops to the threat of brush fires.

Monique Griego has more on which areas are under a warning.

The Eastern Shore seems to be under the biggest threat when it comes to dry conditions.

Smoke filled the air over the Eastern Shore after a massive brush fire ignited on Kent Island.

Flames threatened homes and destroyed nearly 50 acres.

“It’s been so dry over there. We’ve been setting records months after month. When the rest of the state was doing OK, they were still dry. They haven’t really recovered,” said Wendy McPherson.

McPherson from the U.S. Geological Survey says Eastern Shore and Delmarva Peninsula are the areas hardest hit by drought conditions. The lack of rainfall is only made worse by extremely high temperatures.

“The ground, the plants are dry and that is an increased risk of fire,” McPherson said.

That’s why nearly a month after the fire started, it’s still burning although contained.

“You can’t really extinguish all the fire. And because of the drought conditions that we have across the state, it’s very difficult, and these fires get deep seeded,” said Monte Mitchell, DNR state fire supervisor.

But the threat of brush fires isn’t the only problem.

Right now McPherson says agriculture is what’s being most affected by these dry conditions.

“It’s plants, it’s soil moisture,” she said.

In Talbot County, farmers are also feeling the pinch.

“Even as late as June 25, we probably had as much potential as we’ve ever had for a big crop.  And just in the last three weeks we really took a turn for the worst,” said Chip Councell, Councell Farms.

“I would imagine a lot of the water they put for irrigation would evaporate because it’s been so hot,” McPherson said.

Because of the drought watch, state leaders are also asking everyone to conserve water.

Some areas of central Maryland are also under a drought watch.

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