Brush fires remain a concern in Western MA - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Brush fires remain a concern in Western MA

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WILBRAHAM, MA (WSHM) -

According to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, April is the most active and destructive month for wildfires in the state.

This week is Wildfire Awareness Week in Massachusetts and with good reason, in Springfield alone, the fire department was called to eight on Monday.

"The fuel is dead from last fall, leaves falling on the ground, dried all winter and there is a lot of combustible material out there," said Wilbraham Fire Chief Fran Nothe. 

Wind, rising temperatures and dry air have combined to dry out brush, leaves and debris on the ground.

Right now it only takes a small spark to set the woods on fire.

Last year, There were 1,700 reported brush fires that destroyed more than 1,400 acres of land.

That may not seem bad when you compare what states out West deal with every year, but the population density is much higher.

The good news is there is some moisture in the forecast, but it won't be enough to stop the danger.

According to William Hickey from the DCR, Thursday is going to be a day of heightened danger for brush fires.

This is the season for open burning in Massachusetts.

You must have a permit, but you also have to check with your local department the day of the burn to make sure it is safe.

"Depending on weather conditions the state will let us know whether burning is allowed or not, and you call in at 8 o'clock in the morning and we authorize the burning. The burning starts at 10 a.m. and has to be completely out by 4 o'clock," Nothe said. 

There was a brush fire Monday night in Wilbraham that came dangerously close to someone's home.

It started because of an open burn nearby.

There was a permit issued, but they were told not to burn because it wasn't safe.

Copyright 2014 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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