As the West burns, WMass. sees quiet brush fire season

AGAWAM,Mass. (WWLP) – Wildfires and brush fires in southern California have been in the news a lot, but we haven’t heard about dangerous fires as much here in western Massachusetts lately.

In rain parched southern California, video of burning homes has been a common occurrence over the past few days.

These aren’t just *buildings* that are burning to the ground, but lives that are being changed by fires.

“Saddened me the most was seeing tricycles scorched and burned and baby dolls and knowing that there were children and they lost everything,” said Heidi Strong from West Springfield.

Extreme drought, low humidity and strong winds make brush fires common during the late summer and into fall in the southwest, but this year wildfire season started very early.

“It’s been absolutely insane. I think we’re definitely fortunate enough to live in this part of the country where we don’t have to live with all of that. Our winters are pretty tough, but overall I wouldn’t trade the snow for the fire,” said Temy Clemons from West Springfield.

Of course we get smaller brush fires here in western Massachusetts, but conditions haven’t been right for much of them lately.

Part of what’s helped keep brush fires to a minimum over the past few months has been the rain: March, April and now May have all had above normal rainfall.

The past several weeks we’ve had at least one big downpour each week, our most recent one coming early Saturday morning keeping the ground moist.

So while things are wetter than we were in April, brush fires can still happen.

“The trees and the shrubbery helps, the more green you see the less chance of a brush fire. It definitely helps to prevent brush fires. You still have to be careful, there’s still a lot of dead leaves on the ground, a lot of brush on the ground,” said Lt. Michael DeFilipi from the Agawam Fire Department.

If you get just a couple dry weeks in row, brush fires can happen at any time.

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