Fire officials work to prevent brush fires - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Fire officials work to prevent brush fires on Mt. Tom Reservation

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HOLYOKE, MA (WSHM) -

Local fire officials took action Wednesday morning to prevent the spread of brush fires in the woods of the Mt. Tom reservation.

Wednesday night a brush fire burned around 10 acres of the reservation's property. The fire was the latest to plague the area, so officials decided to perform a joint wet down operation to stop the spread of the fires.

"We're up here hitting all the interior hot spots that we weren't able to put out last night before the sun set," said Easthampton Fire Chief David Mottor. "We got about 10 acres of burnt property. The problem is that there's about six inches of natural vegetation on top that is smoldering and the ground is so dry that it is going to burn underground if we don't cut fire line by hand and get the hot spots."

Fire officials from Easthampton, Holyoke, State Forestry and the Westover Air Reserve base worked together to perform the operation.

Easthampton's fire chief explained to CBS 3 what exactly it entailed.

"Today the crews are going in with hand tools such as rakes, specialized axes, they are actually going to be digging down through the top layers of organic material down to what is called mineral earth to prevent the spread of fire outside of that," said Mottor.

This brush fire was the latest in a rash to hit the area. Last week it took more than 100 firefighters to battle a brush fire off of Interstate 91 in Holyoke. And, officials say that battling these types of fires takes a lot of time and resources.

"Fires such as this are very manpower and labor intensive so it's a drain on the crews and it's also a financial drain on the municipalities especially as we wrap up the fiscal year," said Mottor.

Even though rain is in the forecast, fire officials do not anticipate getting enough to address the problem which is why they decided to carry out the operation. Mottor says it would take around an inch to an inch and a half of rain to soak the ground enough to reduce fire danger in the area.

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