BOSTON (WPRI) — The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services is reminding everyone to be extra cautious during wildfire season.
The frequency of outdoor fires typically ramps up in early spring, according to State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey.
“This is the time of year that we start to see outdoor fires begin to rise in New England,” Ostroskey said. “The snow has melted away and there’s plenty of dry vegetation and leaves to act as tinder. Combined with low humidity and high winds, these conditions make it easy for fires to start and very difficult for firefighters to contain them.”
The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services said 98% of outdoor fires are caused by human activity.
“Open burning can be a factor in wildland fires, which is why it must be conducted according to safety restrictions,” Chief Forest Fire Warden David Celino said. “A sudden change in the wind while conducting open burning can push a fire beyond your ability to control it. Always be prepared to extinguish your fire immediately.”
Data from the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation shows that there were more than 1,000 wildfires on non-federal lands in Massachusetts last year.
Open burning season, in communities that allow it, ends on May 1.
Here are some tips to keep in mind while conducting an open burn:
- Burn between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. with a permit from a local fire chief or warden
- Only burn when air quality and fire conditions are acceptable
- Burn only on your own property and at least 75 feet from dwellings and utility lines
- Keep fire suppression tools nearby and have an adult monitoring the fire at all times
- Use paper and/or kindling to start the fire and progressively add pieces of wood
- Never use gasoline, kerosene or any other flammable liquids
- Burn one small pile at a time
- Ensure the fire is completely extinguished before leaving