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Western Mass. Areas Hit By Tornadoes Face Greater Wildfire Threat

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The path of the EF-3 tornado across western and central Massachusetts from June 1 as photographed by a NASA satellite. (courtesy NASA)

The path of the EF-3 tornado across western and central Massachusetts from June 1 as photographed by a NASA satellite. (courtesy NASA)

420x316-grad-katic Mark Katic
Mark Katic is an anchor/reporter for WBZ NewsRadio. Katic began...
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BOSTON (CBS) – The tornadoes that ravaged parts of western Massachusetts are long gone but they are still posing a danger. The problem is the heightened risk of wildfires from trees downed by the twisters.

A normal acre of woods has two tons of debris that could burn but areas impacted by the June 1 tornadoes could have up to 10 times that debris, according to Southbridge fire chief Richard Ciesla.

He said the downed trees not only are at risk of burning but make fighting wildfires more difficult.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports.

“You have access to wooded areas through fire roads. Now, with the timber all over the place, these roads and some of them are no longer accessible and it’s going to take a while to cut these roads in,” said Chief Ciesla.

Communities are meeting with DCR to create a plan to share resources. Ciesla says they may have to take a more defensive stance to fight some wildfires: protecting property rather than going after the fire itself.

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