CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Smoke coming from the Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee on Wednesday was part of a prescribed burning.

The Public Affairs Office of the 439th Airlift Wing at Westover told 22News that personnel at the base are burning around 300 acres of land at the base. The areas being targeted as part of this “prescribed burn” are those near the Westover Airpark North, Westover Golf Course, the Hampden County Correctional Center, Westover Metropolitan Airport, and the interior of the base.

The controlled fires are set in order to cut down on the overgrowth of grass, which can cause wildfires to spread. They are also used to control the spread of invasive plants.

The prescribed fires are only set when wind gusts are 20 miles per hour or less, in order to minimize any safety risks. Firefighters also prevent the fire from spreading out of control by wetting the vegetation bordering the areas to be burned.

The controlled burning will be conducted by U.S. Fish and Wildlife wildland firefighters and Westover ARB Fire Department personnel

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