Holyoke brush fire at Ashley Reservoir is contained but is expected to burn for days

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HOLYOKE – A brush fire that has been burning in Ashley Reservoir since Wednesday night is expected to continue burning for days.

Fire was reported around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday on Lower Westfield Road. Firefighters responded to the first reports of smoke in the area and found a brush fire deep in the woods and on a reservoir peninsula, fire captain Kevin Cavagnac said.

The State Forestry Department was called in to help and concluded the fire was too dangerous to fight. The blaze is completely contained over half an acre by firebreaks to prevent it from spreading, Cavagnac said.

“The fire smolders underground and disrupts the root systems of surrounding trees, making them unstable,” he said. “Many dead trees have been burnt to the base and are at risk of falling to the ground, creating safety concerns for firefighters and the public.”

Firefighters will continue to watch the fire until it burns. Residents of the area should expect intermittent nuisance smoke conditions until the fire is out, he said.

“The fire burns in the litter of pine needles, shrubs and standing dead trees. Moderate to severe drought conditions cause the fire to also burn deep in organic soils up to 8 to 10 inches, a sighting of fire officials is seeing across the state, ”Cavagnac said.

Residents are encouraged to avoid the area for safety reasons as the fire continues to burn. Ashley Reservoir is a popular walking area.

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