Fire Danger is High – Be Careful in the Woods!

Fire Danger is High – Be Careful in the Woods!

The extended dry conditions this summer have made many woodlands in Massachusetts tinderboxes, ready to catch fire at the slightest spark. 

After only 50 percent of normal rainfall was received in June and July, all of Massachusetts is now listed as in moderate or severe drought. Rainfall in August has been less than 25 percent of normal in many places, increasing the drought and drying up streams and ponds.

Nearly 100 wildfires have been reported to the state in August and despite some recent downpours, at least 12 wildfires were burning as of August 24th.  The wildfires have been hard to get under control, due to high temperatures, dried out vegetation and soils.  Fires have been found to be burning deep into the dry soil, making them hard to put out without substantial rain.

As a result of the high incidence of wildfires, the Department of Conservation & Recreation has temporarily banned campfires and other open fires in state parks, only allowing gas grills to be used for cooking.

Anyone working in the woods should take precautions to avoid igniting possible wildfires. 

Make sure spark arrestors are in place on operating equipment’s exhausts and don’t refuel hot engines, allowing them to cool off before refueling.  If possible, keep fire extinguishers handy on operating equipment and fix any oil or fuel leaks right away to avoid accidental ignitions.