- Department of Conservation & Recreation
Media Contact for DCR Warns of Increased Wildlife Danger Due to Current Dry Conditions Across the Commonwealth
Carolyn Assa, Communications Director
BOSTON — The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is encouraging the public to practice fire prevention and safety measures following several wildland fires throughout the state. Since the start of this year’s fire season, there have been over 330 wildfires, only one of which was caused by a natural lightning strike. These fires, intensified by high winds and dry conditions, have consumed almost 900 acres of land.
“The vast majority of wildland fires are started because of human actions, such as a poorly extinguished campfire, which can threaten the public’s forests and parks and endanger public safety and infrastructure,” said Acting DCR Commissioner Stephanie Cooper. “That is why it is so important that we all are aware of the elevated risks of a fire when the weather is especially dry and remain diligent in practicing fire prevention methods.”
DCR employs a three-pronged approach in conjunction with municipal fire departments with fire management concentrating on detection, suppression, and prevention. Detection begins with spotting wildfires through the agency’s network of 42 active fire towers across Massachusetts. Suppression involves putting out wildfires on the ground alongside local fire departments. Prevention focuses on reducing fire fuels, including dried and dead leaves, branches, and pine needles, through prescribed fires, as well as educating the public of prevention methods through various programs like Smokey Bear.
“Massachusetts typical spring fire season has been active recently, which has been exacerbated by the high frequency of windy conditions and low humidity, leading to increased fire activity and larger fire growth,” said DCR Chief Fire Warden Dave Celino. “Under these conditions, it’s important that we ensure fires are managed safely and extinguished completely to prevent future wildfires.”
Dry conditions increase the threat of brush and wildland fires. DCR urges residents to be aware of dry conditions and exercise caution when using charcoal grills, matches and other open flames during outdoor activities, and to ensure that fires are properly and completely extinguished. Below are some helpful campfire tips:
- Before setting up a campfire, be sure it is permitted by checking with your local fire department;
- Clear away dry leaves and sticks and overhanging low branches and shrubs;
- Avoid burning on windy, dry days;
- Attend to the campfire at all times;
- Keep campfires small so they are easier to control;
- Never use gasoline or other flammable or combustible liquids;
- Always have a hose, bucket of water, or shovel and dirt or sand nearby to put out the fire.
- Make sure your campfire is out cold before leaving.
To learn more about DCR’s wildland fire suppression efforts, programs and strategies visit the agency’s Forest Fire Control Program webpage.