Carelessness with fire plus severely dry weather conditions has caused a wave of wildfires to break out this spring in Massachusetts, many right here in Berkshire County.

Now, with the summer season almost upon us, a time for camping and cookouts, fire officials are urging people to be extremely careful and to make doubly sure their campfire is extinguished before leaving the area.

Also, please obey your local burning laws and obtain proper permits before burning brush. Here's a troubling fact according to the Associated Press: Going into this past holiday weekend, just in Maine alone, firefighters responded to almost 430 wildfires this year.

Early in May, a huge wildfire spread in Killington, Vermont, due to someone burning brush. And the recent brush fire that we had here in the Berkshires spread across almost 1,000 acres. According to officials, it was the largest wildland fire in Massachusetts in more than two decades.

Whether or not you live in a wildfire-prone area, you should always know how to prevent them from starting in the first place. Here are just a few safety tips:

  • Only start a campfire in an appropriate fire pit, enclosed by stones or rocks
  • Never leave a fire unattended
  • Make sure you completely douse your fire with water and then cover it with dirt before moving on
  • Don't just flick your cigarette butts on the ground, Make sure to dispose of them properly in a cup of water or a sealed container
  • Only burn yard waste in a 50-gallon drum or fire pit
  • Never burn anything that's highly combustible including cloth or fabric soaked in gasoline or oil
  • Don't start a burn on a windy day
  • Don't let children use fireworks or sparklers unsupervised and always make sure you have a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby. A handy dandy fire extinguisher is even better

For more information, check out the full story from AP here.

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