Massachusetts Fire Officials: 98 Percent Of Wildfires Started By Humans
Massachusetts Fire Officials are warning about the dangers of wildfires as we enter spring, a time when these potentially devastating fires are often started - and mostly by human error. In fact, they say that 98 percent of these fires are started by human activity. That's a staggering statistic... but it also means that the majority of these fires can be prevented.
A plea to the public by fire officials...
The recent warning comes after a Delta Range fire that burned 341 acres at Fort Devens in the towns of Ayer and Shirley, in Middlesex County and Harvard in Worcester County, in late March. Devens Fire Chief Timothy Kelly, Chief Forest Fire Warden David Celino of the Department of Conservation & Recreation, and State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey are asking for the public’s help in preventing these outdoor fires. The trio warns that these fires start to increase in the early spring.
(Above: A wildfire in Clarksburg State Forest in May of 2021 burned around 1000 acres)
Why is this time of the year so dangerous in terms of wildfires?
This is the time of year that we start to see outdoor fires begin to rise in New England... 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. ~ State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey
Devens Fire Chief Timothy Kelly says these fires can be prevented...
Disposing of brush by burning it can be done safely if we follow all the rules and safety measures. We want everyone to enjoy the great outdoors, but we ask that you do it safely.
Kelly says that large wildland fires are labor-intensive and can severely tax regional firefighting resources.
Careless burning during the state's open burning season is often the cause...
Open burning can be a factor in wildland fires, which is why it must be conducted according to safety restrictions... 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. ~ Chief Forest Fire Warden David Celino of the Department of Conservation & Recreation
The bottom line is that if we can be more careful, and follow safety guidelines, we can prevent the majority of wildfires.
You can download a very informative guide to open burning safety, HERE.
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