Increased risk of brush fires due to dry weather in western Massachusetts

Weather News

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) — After a record-wet fall, we finally dried out over the weekend. But all that drying is increasing our risk for brush fires. 

“We had a brush fire right off of the highway this morning.”

Chicopee fire prevention officer Captain Mark Galarneau told 22News we’re seeing more brush fires because there’s so much fuel to burn.

Galarneau said the most common time for brush fires in Western Massachusetts is in the spring after the ground dries out after the snow melts. But we’re seeing a risk now due to the drying fall foliage.

Summer is also a high-risk time of the year for brush fires.

Captain Galarneau said one very common fire trigger is carelessness: throwing lit cigarettes out the window on the highway. Unless they’re sparked by lightning, many brush fires are preventable. There are steps you can take to reduce your fire risk in your yard, especially when it comes to mulch. 

“And in particular around your home, if you haven’t cleaned up your leaves, and uh the mulch around your house is still dry underneath, too, so those are the hazardous areas that we’ve had a problem with,” Galarneau told 22News. 

The Chicopee Fire Department urges smokers to make sure they properly dispose of cigarettes.

And if you do encounter a brush fire, call 911 or report it to the nearest fire department.

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