Brush fires prompt call for caution
Much needed rain was forecast for this week and that was good news for Greater New Milford firefighters.
While a "Red Flag" warning had yet to be issued by the National Weather Service, after weeks without significant rainfall, the Greater New Milford area had become a veritable tinder box.
Three brush fires have ignited since April 28, two in New Milford and a major fire in Roxbury.
Those with open burn permits might not be able to use them due to the weather conditions, Martin said.
Brian Ohmen, New Milford's deputy fire marshal, reminded residents to be sure fireplace ashes are completely extinguished before dumping them.
A brush fire caused by ashes dumped from a patio fireplace on May 4 burned a half-acre of property at 60 Mud Pond Road, Ohmen said. The residence was not damaged, he added.
A six-acre brush fire had occurred April 28 along Big Bear Hill Road. Water Witch Hose Co. No. 2, Washington, Bridgewater and Gaylordsville fire crews fought the blaze.
That fire was started by a 17-year-old youth shooting off fireworks at 62 Big Bear Hill Road, according to New Milford fire marshal Karen Facey.
The youth attempted to put out the fire and was subsequently transported to New Milford Hospital with burned feet, according to police.
The juvenile was arrested on charges of sale, use and possession of fireworks and reckless burning.
The largest brush fire to date was May 1 in Roxbury. It burned some 30 acres of fields and woods.
The cause of that fire has not been determined, according to Roxbury fire marshal James Pierpont.
About 100 firefighters were split into two teams located at South Street and at Apple Lane and Rocky Mountain Road starting at 3:30 p.m., according to Roxbury fire chief Joe Quaranta.
"The terrain worked against us," Quaranta said. "We couldn't get our equipment in. We had to lay hose and the guys had to walk in carrying hose to fight the fire. We must have laid miles of hose."
Fire companies from Roxbury, Bridgewater, Washington, Southbury, Woodbury, Brookfield, Sandy Hook and Bethlehem responded to the scene and remained until dark.
Four residential houses within the fire path were protected with engine companies stationed on site. DEEP crews camped at the site of the blaze overnight to monitor hot spots until daylight.
The next day, DEEP crews and Roxbury firefighters patrolled the area with tonto tanks putting out hot spots and chopping down trees that remained smoldering and burning.
Martin explained sometimes humus will catch on fire during a blaze and the under-soil burning is not readily seen until it suddenly pops up. That is why hot spots are monitored, he said.
Due to wind gusts over the next few days, Roxbury firefighters had to respond to the scene May 3 and May 4 to extinguish small flare-ups.