The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 13, 2010

Brush fire danger high

A five-acre brush fire in Chelmsford near Curve Street was put out with mutual aide from the Carlisle Fire Department on Wednesday, August 4. The fire was complicated to find, said Carlisle Fire Chief David Flannery. “Earlier in the day we went to investigate smoke in the area of Lowell and Curve Streets at the request of State Park staff. Around 3 o’clock we located a sizable brush fire in Chelmsford on their Elm Street near the bog on the Carlisle line.” Flannery reported a team of 12 from Carlisle assisted fire personnel from Chelmsford and the state. “We had to use over 4,000 feet of our hose and we set up Engine 6 to draft from the bog,” he said. The canteen volunteers were activated as well to provide food and drink. “The cause of the fire is undetermined at this time,” he added.

Avoid outside burning of any kind

Flannery said the area is very dry and many seasonal water sources have dried up. “It is of great concern to the Fire Department. The fire danger in the forest and conservation lands is very high. All open burning is prohibited at this time of the year by state law.” He recommended that no fire pits or outside fireplaces be used. “Even sparks from motorized equipment can sometimes cause a fire under certain conditions,” he said. He asked that Carlisle residents keep aware of possible brush fires. “Residents should be alert to any smoke in their area and report this to the Fire Department.”

Fire danger to persist

Dry conditions and above average temperatures are making the area ripe for brush fires. After above-normal rainfall in March and normal precipitation in the beginning of June, the area has received little rain so far this summer. According to the National Weather Service, an average of around four inches of rain has been received in Middlesex County in the last 60 days, where the expected average is more than seven inches. The weather service recently released a report that states that the period between May and July was “the warmest on record for the Northeast and Southeast.”

Peter Judge of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency does not foresee conditions improving soon. He said he attended a recent task force meeting, where a possible declaration of drought was discussed. “We need three months [of below average rainfall] to call it a drought,” he explained. The classification triggers actions such as water bans, he said. Many area towns with public water supplies already have voluntary restrictions on water usage. ∆

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