WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – You’ve probably been driven by new landscaping projects in the works. Right now is the time people are getting their homes ready for the warm weather. A warning from local firefighters about mulch hazards.

Every spring firefighters across the commonwealth respond to mulch fires. Experts say these fires are often caused by improper cigarette and other smoking materials disposal. West Springfield Fire crews tonight providing residents with vital information.

Lt. Tony Spear of the West Springfield Fire Department told 22News, “Mulch is combustible and very easily. We recommend that you keep the mulch about 18 inches away from any buildings. It’s very important that if you’re going to be smoking outside you dispose of the smoking material properly in a sand bucket or water.”

It’s also important to keep large mulch piles at least 30 feet apart. Permits from local fire departments are required wherever more than 300 cubic yards of mulch are stored.