Local fire departments’ ban open burning due to increased fire risk

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – No rain, warm temperatures, and winds mixed with dry air and dry brush is the perfect recipe for a brush fire.

Assistant Amherst Fire Chief Lindsay Stromgren told 22News those conditions can cause a fire to burn quickly, and spread fast. “The surface fuels have dried out quite a bit, so even though the ground may be wet, everything lying on top of the surface is quite dry, and can burn easily,” he said.

The National Weather Service issued a Class 4 warning for all of western Massachusetts on Monday because of the elevated fire risk.

Stromgren said brush fires are more frequent, and more dangerous in April, when the temperatures are higher and the winds are unpredictable. April also happens to be right in the middle of open burning season.

One of the most popular ways to get rid of brush is by burning it, but when the weather’s this dry and so is the brush, many fire departments ban open burning to prevent a fire from getting out of control.

Stromgren urges you to use caution. An ember from a fire, a spark from a cigarette, or a fire pit left unattended is all it can take to start a brush fire.

Dayrien Rosario of Springfield told 22News her family burns bonfires often, but always makes sure the fire is out before they go back inside. “Before we end the night, we usually have water jugs, so we have them by the fire, and we pour them on the fire to make sure it’s out. We stomp on it and make sure it’s out,” she said.

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