1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default So. New England Brush Fires

    A fairly long spring dry spell is developing the potential to be one the most active fire seasons in a long time for Southern New England.
    During Wednesday and Thursday alone over 412 acres were burned by 12 fires in central Massachussetts, driven by brisk winds that ranged from a steady breeze to gusts over 40mph. Similiar conditions and fire experience exist throughout Mass, RI, and Conn.
    Forecasts are uncertain for the coming weekend, which might bring limited rainfall...If the rain does not come, the large brush and forest fires will continue to tax the primarily volunteer and paid-on-call forces which fight them.

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Condolences to Deputy Chief John Murphy of the Russell Fire Department who died while fighting a 1200 acre complex of fires in the Berkshires of Massachussetts.

    The fire started from sparks from a saw of railroad maintenance workers. 1200 acres of fire and aerial water drops are *rare* although by no means unprecendeted in Southern New England.

    Light rain passed through the area this evening, mostly south of the Massachussetts Turnpike. Although the weekend will be cooler, gusty winds expected Saturday could dry out the woods again very quickly.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Connecticut DEP posted the statewide fire danger at EXTREME this morning...in 12 years, this is the first time I remember the fire danger going to this level.

    Very light rain overnite during the weekend was far short of sufficient. Farmers are plowing fields as much as 4 weeks sooner than normal, as the ground is dry enough to support the heavy equipment already.

    Steady winds under clear blue skys continue to dry out grass fields and forest floor duff. Perhaps the only saving grace in the last few days has been unseasonably chilly tempatures in the low 50s...although this weekend is expected to return to temps in the 60s to low 70s.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    April was the 2nd driest in history in New England and New York, surpassed only by April of 1941.

    In June of 1941, a series of arson fires around Voluntown, CT burned thousands, if not tens of thousands, of acres, and claimed the lives of three Rhode Island firefighters when the smoke stalled their truck, and the fire then overran them. At night, the glow could be seen in the sky in my hometown of Brooklyn, some 20 miles northwest of the fires. A primary contributing factor to these fires was the Hurricane of 1938, which had littered the ground with dead trees and debris.

    Similiarly, this year Northern New York and New England is worried about the dead-falls from the Ice Storms of last year contributing to forest fires this year.

    Today in my area, although my details are sketchy, a large brush fire was burning in the Pulaski State Forest in Rhode Island at the Connecticut state line; volunteer firefighters from East Putnam, Thompson Hill, Community (Thompson), West Thompson, East Thompson, Attawaugan, and Connecticut DEP units were on scene, with several departments on standby/coverage assignments. Local fire departments from Rhode Island were also fighting the fire, and I heard one report that the Canteen unit from the City of Providence had been requested for refreshments and rehab.

    In April, the "official" New England total is 3,900 acres lost to fire; however acreage figures for New England are notoriously understated since most fires are handled locally, and unless State Forestry assistance is requested, there is no formal reporting requirements.

    [This message has been edited by Dalmation90 (edited May 01, 1999).]

  5. #5
    Jim M.
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Conditions in Maine and New Hampshire are similiar. Very dry, lots of debris from ice storm, etc. Both states running at Class 5 and Govenors have banned all outside burning. Lots of weekend fires caused by campfires getting out of control. State helicopters getting lots of action this year. Red flag warnings posted periodically due to afternoon winds coming off ocean. Rain in April for Maine and NH was lowest in 125 years of record keeping!

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