Recent weather contributes to brush fires

Open burning laws differ by community

AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – With brush fire season beginning, it’s important to remember that the weather can make brush fires more difficult to contain and put out.

April is typically the worst month for brush fires in the New England area.

Lt. Mike DeFilipy from the Agawam Fire Department told 22News, “As the snow recedes, before the undergrowth can really grow in, there’s a lot of dead grass and leaves, dead brush that can catch on fire really easily during the right conditions – if it’s dry out or windy out.”

Local fire departments say the lack of snow this past winter also contributes to the brush fire hazard, but they are prepared.

The Agawam Fire Department has a 4×4 brush fire truck. It has a 250 gallon water tank on top of it, in comparison to a normal fire engine which has a 750 gallon tank on it. But the difference is it can get into some of those tight-knit wooded areas that aren’t easy to access, and put a fire out before it gets out of control.

Lt. DeFilipy said they have been receiving a couple calls a day from residents concerned about brush fires. The majority of the time it is people that are burning with a legal burn permit. “But if you do not pay attention to your fire you’re supposed to monitor it at all times. It can get away from you fairly easily, if you are not paying attention, it’s a windier day an ember can start a small brush fire that can get out of control really quickly.”

Lt. Defilipy said you should always have a water supply available if you are burning, and make sure you test it beforehand. If it does get out of control, call the fire department immediately.

Open burning laws differ by community. You can check to see what yours are by contacting your local fire department.

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