Saturday, 2:15 PM
'Red flag' alert issued as firefighters battle brushfires
(Robert H. Ackerman)
A picture of a brushfire near the Eliot Bridge over the Charles River in Cambridge.
By Stewart Bishop, Globe Correspondent
Firefighters battled at least four brush fires in Massachusetts today as the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning, indicating that weather conditions are ripe for such blazes around much of the state.
One fire broke out along the banks of the Charles River in Cambridge, and another in Gloucester burned 35 acres before it was contained. Other fires were reported in Lexington and Townsend.
"It's pretty typical for this time of year," said Dave Celino, chief forest fire warden for the state Department of Conservation and Recreation. "We generally get like a week of this every spring."
The National Weather Service issues a red flag warning whenever humidity is low, there hasn't been much precipitation, and winds are gusting to 25 miles per hour or more.
"The conditions are right to promote the growth and spread of fire," said Alan Dunham, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
Celino said that under red flag conditions, people need to take extra precautions. "It's very easy to get ignitions in grasses and leaf litter from a match or a cigarette butt," he said. Celino also said that those who are doing controlled burns need to be particularly vigilant and take extra measures to ensure their burns don't rage out of control.
The weather service is maintaining its red flag warning until 8 p.m. and is expected to reinstate the warning tomorrow.