- Department of Conservation & Recreation
Media Contact for State Environmental Officials Warn of Elevated Risk of Wildland Fires
Olivia Dorrance, Press Secretary
BOSTON — With dry conditions, combustible fuels, and an increase in temperatures across the Commonwealth, officials from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) are cautioning the public that wildland fire danger has steadily increased. As a result, the National Weather Service, who were provided with recommendations from the DCR, has issued a Red Flag Warning posted for all of Massachusetts. A Red Flag Warning cautions that current conditions are ideal for wildland fires to ignite and spread rapidly due to dry fuel conditions, low humidity, and gusty winds, producing potential dangerous fire behavior for firefighting resources.
“Over 95% of all wildland fires nationwide are caused by humans, such as the careless disposal of smoking materials and campfires left unattended,” said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy. “Spring is a great time of year to get outside and enjoy nature; however, we ask the public to be particularly cautious, diligent, and safe this time of year, and take the extra precautions needed to prevent a wildland fire from starting.”
Uncontrolled wildland fires can have devastating effects on the built and natural environment. Dried leaves and fallen branches can create an extremely potent fuel, and when coupled with windy conditions, a fire can easily spread. A carelessly tossed cigarette or a poorly extinguished camp fire can cause a wildland fire to ignite; threatening state forests, reservations, and state parks that are managed on the public’s behalf.
“April is traditionally the start of the Commonwealth’s fire season, where we witness a dramatic uptick in wildland fires throughout the state,” said DCR Chief Fire Warden Dave Celino. “Warm spring temperatures and little precipitation greatly increase the likelihood of wildland fires, which feed on dormant fuels, such as dry leaf litter and brush. It is incredibly important that we all take a little extra time and ensure flames are properly extinguished.”
Already this year there has been 73 reported wildland fires that have burned approximately 43 acres around the state. Depending on weather conditions, Massachusetts averages approximately 1,500 wildfires a year and between 1,200-2,000 acres burned throughout the Commonwealth. For further information regarding fire related weather concerns, please visit the National Weather Service’s fire weather webpage.