After several days of rain over the last two weeks — and with more expected in the days ahead — the city Monday officially re-opened its public woods, including the hiking areas of Dogtown and the Norton woods north of Revere Street.
Mayor Carolyn Kirk closed the woods in late March when the National Weather Service issued a "red flag" warning for fire danger.
Since the closure, Gloucester firefighters have battled three major brush fires during the unusually dry weather in April.
But the rain Cape Ann and surrounding communities received over the last few weeks, said Acting Fire Chief Steve Aiello, has saturated the ground enough to re-open the woods.
"I'm not a weatherman," Aiello said, "but (the rain) has gone a long way toward getting things greened up and not so dry."
Aiello said the city received more than 3 inches of rain in the past few weeks, with more heavy rain predicted for later this week as well. The recent moisture, he said, has dampened things to the point where it's safe to let people back into the woods.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.