The recent heat wave and dry conditions were blamed for a brush fire on Mount Minor on Saturday, however the fire's re-emergence in a different spot after hot spots were quashed Sunday has been labeled suspicious.
Auburn Fire Chief Bruce Phillips said in a telephone interview that crews had returned to the mountain Sunday to check on and flush out any remaining hot spots. Shortly after returning to the station, the Mount Minor fire tower reported smoke from the area firefighters had just visited.
“After the fire tower started reporting smoke in the area, we were back on scene in five minutes and another eighth-of-acre was burning,” Phillips said. “There's no way that when we left Sunday anything was going. We put a lot of water in there and everything was good. For something like that to get going in that short a period of time … it's suspicious”.
Auburn first responded to reports of a brush fire on Mount Minor off the backside ledges and top of the mountain on Saturday around 4 p.m., Phillips said.
“It took about an hour to hour-and-a-half to get the fire under control,” Phillips said of the fire that burned about half an acre. “We were hampered by the area's very remote access, steep terrain and having to truck in the water all that way.”
“The fire was burning about 18 to 24 inches into the ground,” Phillips added. “Because it's so dry, fire will follow the root structures of the trees, plants and moss into the ground, smolder and pop up somewhere else. The crews had to dig it up and use high-pressure nozzles to uproot the fires and control it that way.”
Auburn received mutual aid from the Deerfield, Chester, Hooksett and Derry Fire Departments.
Crash on Route 28 bypass
On Saturday at 5:50 p.m., with crews battling the brush fire, a call for a crash on the Route 28 bypass near the Bear Neck Bridge was received.
“A motorcycle was traveling south and a vehicle traveling northerly crossed the center line,” said Phillips. The motorcycle apparently flipped while trying to avoid the car.
The motorcyclist, age 54, was not identified, and suffered serious head injuries and a fractured wrist, Phillips said. The rider was transported to the Elliot Hospital by the Derry Fire Department, which was covering the Auburn station.
“We've been very busy the past couple of days,” Phillips said, “and we're very fortunate to have the Derry crews helping us out.”