Sunday, April 16, 2017

Local News Update

About yesterday's fire: More bad news today.

Crews from the fire department and the town DPW were in the woods today, hunting down hot spots and taking down damaged trees. Apparently when the fire burned over the ridge from Pineswamp into the woods above Linebrook Road it was intense enough to go up some trees instead of just burning through the leaf litter and underbrush, which is what Jean and I saw yesterday.

We walked up Pineswamp around 10:30 this morning to see what we could see, and learned that one of the men cleaning up in the woods had been just struck by a falling tree and was going to be medflighted out. We saw the helicopter go over us, headed for Bialek Park (which our little side street abuts) where there's a field big enough for it to land safely, then head back away toward whatever hospital would be receiving the man. Story here:

We went up about a mile along Pineswamp, past the point we'd reached yesterday. There wasn't a massed presence of fire trucks as there had been the day before, but firemen were at work overhauling the burned area, with hundreds of yards of fire hose running along the edge of the road from the only available fire hydrant to a pumper engine serving one crew working up into the woods. There aren't many houses along there, but we could see that the fire had come within a few dozen yards of some of them.

There was some rain last night, but not enough to do much good. It was pushing 80 degrees today, with variable winds. From what we could gather, the fire crews were in there all day and expect to go back for more mopping up tomorrow.

Update, April 20:

Update on the DPW worker the tree fell on while cleaning up after the forest fire:

I went to the town transfer station yesterday and was talking to the attendant. Turns out he was right there when the tree fell on the guy. Says he got hurt pretty bad: broken shoulder, ribs, leg, and a lot of skin on his arm and side ripped off. But should recover, or at least survive.

He also said the homeowner whose blown-away kindling started it had been taking down trees in back of his property and had six burn piles of slash set up ready to light. I guess we should be grateful he didn't get any of them started before the wind grabbed his fire and sent it into the forest.

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