WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – 90% of the state is experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions and with dry weather comes the increased risk of brush fires.

The West Springfield Fire Department explains what the causes of these fires are.

They say gusty winds and low humidity creates the potential for increased brush fire risks. Lieutenant Spear
told 22News that they are constantly receiving calls due to improper disposal of smoking materials especially during this drought.

Tina Soja of West Springfield said, “It takes just one little match, one little cigarette, one little anything. You just have to make sure everything is put out properly, that’s all.”

Brush fires can typically start quickly due to the low humidity, gusty winds and lack of vegetation on the ground right now. So it’s best to avoid outdoor burning as dry vegetation provides the perfect environment for flames to spread.

Lieutenant Tony Spear of the West Springfield Fire Department explains, “So with the extra dry conditions you have to be more mindful of outdoor activists like campfires, disposal of smoking materials, and even use of outdoor equipment.”

The Energy And Environmental Affairs declared a level 2 Significant Drought in the Connecticut River Valley, Central, Northeast and Southeast Regions. In the meantime while conditions are dry Lieutenant Spear recommends to scale back on having recreational fires outside.

“You know, we recommend not having outdoor campfires at this time because it’s so dry, but if you are having one, cover over your fire or enclosed fire area would probably be beneficial at this time,” he said.

Some other brush fire safety tips are to always dispose of smoking devices properly and never burn on a windy or dry day.

Tina Soja of West Springfield always makes sure to properly put out her fires and her cigarettes. “People should have more consideration when putting things out, especially with the wind nowadays. And, it’s so dry out you have to be more careful,” she continued.

Lt. Spear advises to keep all propane outdoors and keep your grills at least 10 feet away from any building. If you can, keep a fire extinguisher and water hose handy.