Pesky Brush Fire Takes Hours To Put Out

Ragged Mountain blaze covered more than an acre.


The Berlin Police and Fire Departments received numerous calls from drivers and homeowners on Chamberlain Highway reporting smoke on Ragged Mountain around 1 p.m. Monday.

All four departments were dispatched and found just over an acre on fire on the cliff edge of Ragged Mountain off of Wigwam Road, Kensington. On arrival smoke was seen from an area overlooking Great Oak Drive.

"The fire, approximately, 1.5 acres in size was put under control quickly however high winds and very dry conditions led to a lengthy operation to completely extinguish any remaining fire in the heavy ground cover," Deputy Fire Marshal Matt Odishoo said. "Fire personnel remained on scene until approximately 8 p.m. using hand tools, portable pumps and water shuttles from the base of the mountain using the off road vehicles."

"We had to transport water up to the spot and portable pumps," South Kensington Chief Brian Chapman said. "We got it under control by around 6 p.m. and then we started transporting people and equipment back down to the mountain."

Chapman said it is never easy to get water up to the mountain.

"We have off road equipment with a pump that holds 75 gallons of water," Chapman said. "There are some brooks and streams that we can use to pump water from. We were able to use a brook up there so we had two portable pumps going at once."

With the lack of rainfall, Chapman said residents should be very careful about fire prevention.

"It's extremely early in the season to be worried about brush fires," Chapman said. "People who are hiking really have to be careful that they don't throw cigarettes on the ground because even something that small could set off a fire with it being as dry as it is.

"We have had some lightning strikes up there that have started fires but they have burnt out over night before we even knew they were there. We are seriously deficient of rain right now. It is extremely dry and the wind coming over the sheer cliff does nothing but add fuel to the dangerous fire conditions."

According to Odishoo, fire personnel returned to the scene this morning to inspect the area and extinguished two hot spots found in the area. The cause of the fire is determined. There were no reported injuries.


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