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Winds blow, brush fires rage

New Hampshire Union Leader
Union Leader Correspondent

April 04. 2012 8:53PM
Forest ranger Matt Apgar (left) speaks with forest ranger Doug Miner and Jim Haynes of Lakes Region Mutual Aid Fire about the plan to attack a growing wildfire off Currier Road in Hill. (Paula Tracy/ Union Leader)

WAKEFIELD - Firefighters from nearly a dozen towns battled a three-alarm fire Wednesday night that destroyed several unoccupied seasonal camps on Butler Field Road across from Province Lake.

The blaze, which may have started as a brush fire, was the latest in a string of fires Wednesday fueled by high winds and dry conditions.

Wakefield Fire Chief Todd Nason said between five to seven small camps had caught fire, along with about an acre of nearby brush. No one was injured.

Nason said the fire could have been caused by a downed power line.

'It could have been a limb on a wire; we don't know yet,' Nason said.

Brush fires have been a concern during these past dry and windy weeks. Wolfeboro Fire

In Hill, firefighters walked more than a mile into a wooded area to control a four-alarm fire that spread over 64 acres Wednesday afternoon.

'This is the biggest fire of the year,' said Ron Klemarczyk, special deputy warden for the state Division of Forests and Lands. 'A red flag day.'

In Warren, firefighters from nine area towns and crews from the White Mountain National Forest Service in Plymouth fought a brush fire on eight acres of national forest land.

The fire was reported about 12:30 p.m. on a dirt road off Route 118 near Breezy Point, said Warren Fire Chief Dave Riel.

The fire was in a field about three miles from Route 118, Riel said. There were no houses nearby, nor any signs of campers, Riel said.

'We really don't know what caused it,' Riel said. 'It spread pretty quickly. It's very dry right now.'

It took about 90 minutes to put out the fire, he said. There were no injuries.

Fire departments from several of those towns had sent crews to help fight the brush fire in Hill. Brush fires were also reported in Andover, New London, Epping and Somersworth on Wednesday.

'Once we got it under control, we released as many departments as we could to go back to the fire in Hill,' Riel said.

The fire in Hill could be seen from the home of Nate Taylor.

'I have never seen a forest fire before,' Taylor said. 'Just on TV. Not like this.'

In a matter of 10 minutes, the fire had moved over the ridge to the north and was continuing to consume three or four more trees from where he stood.

There were about 75 firefighters from as far away as Barnstead, Hopkinton and Meredith on the scene.

'Any spark in the woods these days can start something like this,' Klemarczyk said.

He said no cause has been determined for the fire.

New Hampshire Union Leader Correspondent Dan Seufert contributed to this report.

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