SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Rain and snowfall in western Massachusetts are significantly below average for this time of year, which has resulted in a Red Flag Warning.
Red flag warnings mean that fires can catch and spread very quickly. In addition to the warning, there is also an outdoor burning ban in the city.
Western Massachusetts is currently experiencing a mild drought. The state’s Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary said this is due to lower-than-normal precipitation, groundwater, and streamflow.
Resulting in a Red Flag Warning for the entire state.
“With the fire conditions out here being Red Flag, the fires are going to grow rapidly in intensity and become more difficult to distinguish,” said Captain Drew Piemonte, Springfield Fire Department spokesman.
The main type of fire associated with this warning, is brush fires and dry vegetation provides the perfect environment for flames to spread. Heavy winds are also a contributing factor.
According to Capt. Piemonte, these fires have been an on-going issue for the city, “The City of Springfield from 2019 to 2020 was up 200 percent in brushfire calls. Over the weekend we had a handful of brushfires, a couple over at Forest Park that were pretty large.”
He added that people should avoid using power tools during dry weather, or anything that can cause a spark. Even car mufflers near dry leaves can start a brush fire.
In just the past week, there have been brush fires all over western Massachusetts, including Chicopee, Monson, and Shelburne.