Massachusetts Fire Officials are warning about the dangers of wildfires as we enter spring, a time when these potentially devastating fires are often started - and mostly by human error. In fact, they say that 98 percent of these fires are started by human activity. That's a staggering statistic... but it also means that the majority of these fires can be prevented.

A plea to the public by fire officials...

The recent warning comes after a Delta Range fire that burned 341 acres at Fort Devens in the towns of Ayer and Shirley, in Middlesex County and Harvard in Worcester County, in late March. Devens Fire Chief Timothy Kelly, Chief Forest Fire Warden David Celino of the Department of Conservation & Recreation, and State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey are asking for the public’s help in preventing these outdoor fires. The trio warns that these fires start to increase in the early spring.


Clarksburg State Forest Fire
Josh Mantello

(Above: A wildfire in Clarksburg State Forest in May of 2021 burned around 1000 acres)


Why is this time of the year so dangerous in terms of wildfires?

This is the time of year that we start to see outdoor fires begin to rise in New England... The snow has melted away and there’s plenty of dry vegetation and leaves to act as tinder. Combined with low humidity and high winds, these conditions make it easy for fires to start and very difficult for firefighters to contain them. ~ State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey


WBEC AM logo
Get our free mobile app


Devens Fire Chief Timothy Kelly says these fires can be prevented...

Disposing of brush by burning it can be done safely if we follow all the rules and safety measures. We want everyone to enjoy the great outdoors, but we ask that you do it safely.


Kelly says that large wildland fires are labor-intensive and can severely tax regional firefighting resources.

Careless burning during the state's open burning season is often the cause...

Open burning can be a factor in wildland fires, which is why it must be conducted according to safety restrictions... A sudden change in the wind while conducting open burning can push a fire beyond your ability to control it. Always be prepared to extinguish your fire immediately. ~ Chief Forest Fire Warden David Celino of the Department of Conservation & Recreation



The bottom line is that if we can be more careful, and follow safety guidelines, we can prevent the majority of wildfires.

You can download a very informative guide to open burning safety, HERE.


LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.


15 Ways You Can Help People in Ukraine Right Now

As Americans watch events unfold in Ukraine, many wonder how they can help. Below is a list of organizations responding to the crisis in Ukraine along with information on how you can support their various missions. 


LOOK: What major laws were passed the year you were born?

Data for this list was acquired from trusted online sources and news outlets. Read on to discover what major law was passed the year you were born and learn its name, the vote count (where relevant), and its impact and significance.




More From WBEC AM