Thread: 500+ acres in Massachussets...
05-03-2001, 10:22 PM #1Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
500+ acres in Massachussets...
Not big by west/south standards, but Douglas, MA today lost 500+ acres.
Douglas is in Mass just bordering Connecticut and Rhode Island, and more-or-less forms the northeastern corner of the sandy soil/pine brush area that runs predominates southeastern Mass and Rhode Island.
The fire was reported Wednesday around 20:00 hours by a fire tower, and shortly afterwards by a civilian helicopter via an airport tower.
Crews worked through the night, and resumed a major attack this morning at 07:30, when the fire was estimated to cover 200 acres.
By late afternoon it had consumed 500 acres.
Southern New England is experiencing the worst fire weather in many, many years with a 10+ day dry spell, unusually hot temps (in the 90s), very low humidity (which is very weird weather for New England), and mild to moderate winds.
Indeed, Berkshire County, MA and Litchfield County, CT went under Red Flag warnings this afternoon...and I'm very concerned we may see Red Flag go up throughout the Tri-State area Friday afternoon when a fairly dry cold front moves through -- only 30% chance of scattered showers.
05-03-2001, 10:33 PM #2Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
Nah, you don't see Crown fires in New England...
Mashpee, MA today, which is in Southeastern MA -- same conditions seen on parts of Long Island and The Pine Barrens of NJ (You can pretty much draw a diagonal line across all three).
05-03-2001, 10:37 PM #3NFDLT55Firehouse.com Guest
Same thing down this way, although we dont have mush brush to burn in the suburbs of Hartford, I've never seen our department run this many brush fires. There hasn't been one day in the last two weeks where we havent been responding to a brush fire. We've had to close CT Route 9 down due to the fire apparatus parked on the highway three times this week. It shows no sign of yielding. I have not seen anything like this. Although we only catch maybe a two to four acre brush fire, it normally knocks a couple of engines out of commission for atleast three hours. Berlin one town over has been catching some action too. Hopefully we'll get some rain, but I really dont see that happening. This fire season is looking liek it may be a bad season.
05-04-2001, 09:45 AM #4Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
125 firefighters join battle in state forest
Friday, May 4, 2001
By Dan De Leo
Telegram & Gazette Staff
DOUGLAS-- A devastating forest fire that cut a two-mile swath through Douglas State Forest and privately owned land, destroying nearly 650 acres of dense woods, was finally contained yesterday by firefighters from more than 20 communities.
No one was injured in the blaze, which started at about 6 p.m. Wednesday night. No residential property was threatened.
Douglas Fire Chief Donald P. Gonynor, who coordinated the effort of more than 100 firefighters from a command post off Northwest Main Street, felt relieved once word came that the blaze was out -- nearly 23 hours after it started, at about 5 p.m. yesterday.“I hope I never have to come up here again,” he said.
The blaze began Wednesday night in a remote area of the forest south of Grassy Pond, about three-quarters of a mile from the Oxford and Webster town lines. From there it spread southward and traveled through parts of the privately-owned Douglas Woods and the state forest before being contained north of Route 16.
At one point the fire was in danger of getting out of control, said G. Kenneth Collette of the state Department of Emergency Management. Dry conditions and a rugged terrain complicated matters, he said. The fire spread quickly and was difficult to get to. Because it was deep in the forest and largely inaccessible, roads had to be cut using a bulldozer and chain saws. Crews threw together a makeshift bridge across a small brook so the equipment could be hauled to the scene.
“The terrain was very tough,” Chief Gonynor said. “It took a lot of hard work to pull in all that equipment.”
It took more than equipment to beat down the blaze.
About 125 firefighters fought the blaze, trudging into the dense woods about 9 p.m. Wednesday. They pulled about 10,000 feet of hose down steep ravines and bushwhacked through thickets to reach the fire line.
They toiled through the night -- quitting briefly from 4 a.m. until 7 a.m. because of fatigue -- and continued yesterday. The ground crews were aided by three helicopters -- two from the National Guard and one from the state police -- which brought huge buckets of water from nearby Whitin Reservoir to dump on the flames. They also doused the perimeter of the fire to keep it from encroaching on nearby towns and Route 16, which was never threatened, according to Mr. Collette.Water was pumped from a small brook and from wetlands. Hand pumps and floating pumps were carried in, too.“They had to use what they could find in the woods,” said David Furno, a Douglas call firefighter.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, fire officials said. Estimates on the cost to contain it were not readily available.
The fire was spotted from a state lookout tower atop Goat Hill, close to the Oxford town line. It started near the small pond and quickly began moving out in a v-shape south toward Route 16, officials said.
“You could see a wall of fire moving across the valley,” Sutton Fire Chief David Currier said.
Just as arid conditions likely contributed to the fire's start and its spread, it took a toll on firefighters working in 91-degree heat. Despite the hot conditions, there were no reports of dehydration or other injuries.
Throughout the day, relief came from various sources. Selectman Thomas J. Navaroli coordinated distribution of boxes of food and pallets of water donated by local businesses.
The Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School culinary department sent 200 sandwiches and 20 cases of iced tea and water, he said. They were joined by Wal-Mart, Burger King, McDonald's and Gregory's Pizza in Douglas donating food and beverages
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