WILBRAHAM, Mass. (WWLP) – We’ve been seeing an abnormally high number of brush fires in western Massachusetts lately.
The brush fire risk is much higher than we typically see this time of year and that’s all due to the lack of rain.
The fire danger out there right now is pretty high. Temperatures have been heating up in western Massachusetts, and so has the brush fire risk. Typically we see more of them in the spring, but they’ve been picked up recently due to the dry spell.
“It’s not just been a dry June. May was also dryer than average, and we also had a dryer than average January. So its all kind of just adding up,” said Bannin. “And with enough of a breeze, brush fires get going fairly easily.”
Brush fires put a lot of stress on firefighters. Dehydration is one of the biggest challenges for firefighters when they are putting out brush fires. They have to wear a weighted turnout coat. It has no ventilation, so it causes them to heat up very fast. Lieutenant Dane George of the Wilbraham Fire Department told 22News that the gear takes a toll on every firefighter.
“Typically you just get exhausted. You’re in all that gear, and carrying around another 60 or 70 pounds on top of that. That dehydrates you pretty quick,” said Lt. George.
Lt. George added that their entire department responds to brush fires and they’ll call neighboring departments if they need help. He also said fireworks have been a big problem and put unnecessary strain on their department.
They are illegal in Massachusetts and have caused structure and grass fires.