It’s been a busy stretch for firefighters.
There have been 24 brush fires in just the last week across Massachusetts.
One of the key lines of defense are Department of Conservation and Recreation fire towers.
They’re up to 80 feet high and where firefighters keep an eye on the landscape.
“I can usually tell generally how hot the fire’s burning based on the color of the smoke, the size of the column, the width of the column, how tall it’s burning,” said DCR Firefighter Dan Connell, who keeps watch on any potential smoke and flames coming from the ground at the Sharon tower.
He can see about 10 miles and uses binoculars, maps and a compass to relay key information to local fire departments.
The fire towers play a critical role in raising the alarm – and the last couple of weeks the dry and windy weather have been a real issue.
There have been 16 brush fires just since Sunday.
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"The big factor has been wind," said Chief Fire Warden Dave Celino. "We’ve had one day after another where we’re seeing wind gusts into the twenties and thirty mile an hour range, and that’s what drives these fires."
There have been over 330 brush fires this year in Massachusetts–about average–but the amount of land chewed up —about 870 acres–is higher than normal.
One fire was caused by lightning but all the rest a result of people–smoking and grilling are some of the prime problems.
“Be really careful to extinguish your fire completely,” said Alex Belote, DCR Fire Program Coordinator. “Dispose of your ashes and coals from your barbecue very carefully.”
There are more than 40 fire towers across the state.
They’re typically manned on high fire danger days.
The peak season is March until June.
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