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Firefighters scurry to put out a rash of outdoor fires


With several consecutive days of dry weather, firefighters have been called to a series of outdoor fires that spread quickly and proved difficult to control.

A camper caught fire Saturday in Harrisville and caused about two acres to burn, and later in the day another blaze broke out in the town of Fine. Causes have not been determined.

On Friday afternoon in Adams Center, a not fully extinguished campfire caused about five acres to go up in smoke at 13949 Route 11. The night before, a marsh full of cattails burned in Goose Bay, Alexandria, after someone was suspected of burning trash in a barrel, fire officials said. About 10 acres burned Wednesday in another outdoor fire in the town of Theresa.

No one was hurt in any of the recent fires. Other than the camper, no structures have been damaged.

Harrisville First Assistant Fire Chief Christopher W. Weeks said the recent dry weather can cause grass fires or campfires to spread quickly. A state burn ban is in effect until May 15, he said.

On Saturday afternoon, firefighters from three departments spent about 2 hours putting out the fire sparked by the camper off South Bonaparte Road. Lewis County fire investigators are looking into the cause.

“We just got back to the fire station and were called back out to another one in Fine,” Chief Weeks said, stressing that people must make sure campfires are fully extinguished.

At the second fire, Harrisville firefighters were put on mutual aid for a bigger blaze that caused about five acres to burn in Fine. The state Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating what caused that one.

Outdoor fires are banned until May 15. Barrel burns and burning of grass, trash or leaves are prohibited, and violators could receive a $1,000 fine for the misdemeanor charge, said Joseph D. Plummer, Jefferson County director of fire and emergency management.

“The bigger issue that I have: a fire could ignite and spread to your neighbor’s house,” he said. “Their house could go up and you’re responsible.”

In cases like that, the responsible party’s insurance would have to pay for the house, he said.

Of the recent outdoor fires, the biggest one was in Goose Bay, where a bunch of cattails in about 30 acres caught fire Thursday night.

It took about 100 firefighters from eight fire companies to finally put out the blaze before it got closer to nearby homes.

At times, flames reportedly burst 40 feet into the air.

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