Firefighters continue to battle Leverett forest fire

  • A brush fire that started Thursday morning on Joshua Hill and lasted through the weekend. Courtesy Photo/Colrain Firefighters’ Association

  • Firefighters battle a brush fire that started Thursday morning on Joshua Hill and lasted through the weekend. Courtesy Photo/Colrain Firefighters’ Association

  • A firefighter battles a brush fire that started Thursday morning on Joshua Hill. Courtesy Photo/Colrain Firefighters’ Association

Staff Writer
Published: 6/28/2020 5:49:27 PM

LEVERETT — A forest fire on Joshua Hill that broke out Thursday morning still was not fully under control by late Sunday morning, but was relatively more contained than it had been, Leverett Fire Chief John Ingram said.

As of Sunday morning the fire was being tended by about 40 people from local and state agencies, he said, compared to about 100 on Saturday.

The fire was 55 acres large as of Saturday. A new measure had not been made by Sunday morning.

Containing and monitoring the fire would probably take at least a few more days of work, Ingram said.

Houses and other structures on Long Plain Road and Montague Road were not at risk from the fire, Ingram said. The Fire Department had plans in case the fire did encroach on residential areas, but as of Sunday Ingram was still not concerned that it would.

The Leverett Fire Department was first called to the fire late Thursday morning, arriving about 11:30 a.m. By 3 p.m. other local fire departments and state agencies were involved, including the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, the Department of Conservation and Recreation and State Police.

Starting at less than an acre Thursday morning, by Friday afternoon the fire was estimated at 23 acres when State Police surveyed with a helicopter. Saturday at about 12:30 p.m. it was estimated at 55 acres.

The cause of the fire was still not determined as of Sunday. Department of Conservation and Recreation Chief Fire Warden David Celino said conditions recently have been unusually dry for this time of year, and are more typical of September or October. Leverett Fire Chief Ingram noted that lightning had been reported in the area a few days before.

Fire crews on Sunday morning were preparing to hike the mountain to search for hotspots, which would help agencies to judge whether the fire was still moving, Ingram said.

He noted that storms and wind were forecasted for Sunday afternoon, which could complicate the situation further.

“After today hopefully we’ll have a better idea of any movement,” he said Sunday morning.


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