What causes brush fires?

Massachusetts News

(WWLP) — Tuesday’s weather contributed to a higher than usual risk for brush fires in western Massachusetts. Meteorologist Kelly Reardon from NEWS10’s sister station in Springfield explains why.

The elevated risk for brush fires is due to the following reasons:

  • Areas of drought: When the ground is dry and the brush and vegetation is dry. The drier the ground and vegetation the easier it is for brush fires to start.
  • The air is dry: Another contributing factor to quick-spreading brush fires
  • Wind gusts add to the higher risk: We don’t have significant winds, but wind gusts of 20 to 25 mph are just enough to fan the flames resulting from brush fires, which helps them to spread.

Currently, in New York State there is a burn ban in place until May 15. Residents are banned from burning brush until then due to an elevated risk of wildfires. According to the Department of Environmental Conservation open burning is the number one cause of wildfires.

With a combination of dry vegetation, low humidity, and breezy winds, brush fires can ignite and spread much faster. That fast-spreading makes the fire much harder to contain. Be careful of how you dispose of smoking materials.

Morning temperatures will be in the 30s and 40s. We’ll have variable clouds throughout the day with highs in the mid to upper 60s. It may be a bit breezy at times.

Late Tuesday night, after 11 p.m. we have a chance for scattered showers and potentially an isolated storm. Lows will drop to the 40s.

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