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Crews fight the flames of a three-alarm brush fire on River Road in Putney on Thursday, April 28, 2016. Crews contained the fire on the five to seven acres of rocky hill terrain.

PUTNEY >> Yellow-colored jackets lined five to seven acres of a rocky hill behind a mobile home dwelling where a brush fire struck Thursday afternoon.

At 1:26 p.m. multiple drivers travelling down I-91 South, along with the chief from Westmorland, N.H., Fire Department, reported a brush fire that was coming from 319 River Road. Once the Putney Fire Department arrived on scene the blaze was quickly upgraded to what Chief Tom Goddard called a three-alarm fire due to the way it was spreading up the hill and because of the dry conditions.

"We still got a lot of work ahead of us," Goddard said around 3:45 p.m. "We got the fire contained, now we just got all that acreage to overhaul."

Some firefighters travelled up the hill on foot, while others travelled up on ATVs and trucks. Firefighters continued to extinguish the hot spots and transport water up the hill. The remaining overhaul involved walking through the entire burned area and "wetting it down" and turning over the soil until the fire is put out.

The property is owned by Arnold Kathan, according to Goddard, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation by Vermont State Police and Division of Fire Safety. Goddard added that an uninhabitable structure and some junked vehicles out in the woods also caught fire.


"There have been a tremendous number of brush fires and a significant number of them have been multiple-alarm brush fires that have taken a lot of firefighters and resources," said Goddard. "Unfortunately, the rain we got that we thought was going to be a huge benefit to us the other day, we're finding already over the last day and a half that things just dried right back out again, so we're back to having significant problems."

In preventing brush fires, Goddard and EMT from Rescue Inc. Zach Rounds urge people not to start an outside fire without a permit.

"Don't just think it's okay to burn; if you're going to do any outside burning at all, call the local fire department, call the local fire warden and get the permits you need. And if you're told not to burn, don't," said Goddard.

Firefighters that responded wore Wildland gear, which is designed for wild and brush fires and allows crews to prolong the life of their gear and wear a lighter load.

Departments from Putney, Dummerston, Westminster, Walpole, N.H., Brattleboro, Hinsdale, N.H., Guilford, Vernon, Westmorland, N.H., Chesterfield, N.H., and Bellows Falls responded as did the Vermont State Police, Windham County Sheriff's Office and Rescue Inc.

Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275