Holyoke fire officials urge public to stay away from Ashley Reservior after brush fire

Hampden County

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Fire officials in Holyoke are advising the public to stay away from the Ashley Reservoir area due to safety concerns after a brush fire left many dead trees burned and fragile. 

Captain Kevin Cavagnac of the Holyoke Fire Department said crews responded to 256 Lower Westfield Road late Wednesday night for a report of smoke in the area of 256 Lower Westfield Road.  

Firefighters discovered a brush fire in the Ashley Reservoir, which was burning on a peninsula that was surrounded by deep woods and was very difficult to access, according to Capt. Cavagnac. 

State Forestry Department officials also responded and determined that the fire was too dangerous to fight. Capt. Cavagnac explained that the fire was smoldering underground and disrupted the root system of surrounding trees, making them unstable.  

Fire officials are warning residents to stay clear of the area for safety concerns, because many dead trees have been burned at the base and have to potential to fall to the ground creating safety concerns for both firefighters and the public. 

“We continue to get calls from the public concerning the smoke,” Capt. Cavagnac said. 

Update and explanation from the Holyoke Fire Department: 

  • The Ashley Reservoir Fire is 100 % contained at a ½ acre but continues to burn in the interior on a peninsula surrounded by water. 
  • The Fire is burning in pine needle litter, shrubs, and dead standing trees.  Moderate to severe drought conditions are causing the fire to also burn deep in the organic soils as much as 8” to 10”, an observation fire official are seeing across the state, where most remote fires of ½ and acre and larger are now taking multiple days to get full extinguishment.  
  • The Ashley Reservoir Fire will most likely remain active in the interior over the next few days.  Residents can expect intermittent nuisance smoke conditions in the immediate area, a characteristic of drought-induced fire behavior.  

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