Tuesday May 7, 2013

HINSDALE, N.H. -- The town's volunteer fire department was kept busy over the weekend as it battled two brush fires within hours of each other, Sunday.

Hinsdale Fire Chief Jay Matuszewski said his department was dispatched to a blaze between Thicket Hill Village and Freedom Acres at 12:11 p.m. before another fire was reported on Wantastiquet Mountain shortly before 5. He said there were no injuries as a result of either fire and he is not sure how they started.

He said the first blaze covered about three acres of brush and took roughly three hours to get under control. Matuszewski said there were about 30 Hinsdale firefighters at the scene and he sent three men in a Jeep to fight the Wantastiquet Mountain fire, which took about two hours to control. It was roughly 1,500 feet from the road and burned up to about one acre of land.

The Hinsdale chief said firefighters from Chesterfield, Brattleboro, Vt., and Northfield, Mass., also responded to the fire between Thicket Hill Village and Freedom Acres while another truck from Brattleboro covered the Hinsdale Fire Station. That cover truck was dispatched to Wantastiquet Mountain along with the fire departments of Chesterfield, Spofford, Winchester and Guilford and Vernon, Vt. Winchester also sent a cover truck to the Hinsdale station.

Fire Mutual Aid also responded to both blazes.

"We used all the resources we had and, of course, we have to rely on other towns for their resources while trying not to totally strip another town because they might have their own thing," Matuszewski told the Reformer on Monday. He said his crew handled both situations perfectly and all other departments were instrumental in fighting the flames.

Hinsdale Police Chief Todd Faulkner said members of his department were on scene of the second fire from about 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The fires came about five days after the Reformer published a brief that stated fire officials in New Hampshire and Vermont have limited the number of burning permits due to a combination of dry weather and increased brush fires.

Matuszewski said brush fires are more common this time of year for several reasons. He said early spring still has some winter air, meaning there is no humidity or moisture in the air. Brush often does not have much shade from the bright sun because trees have not yet grown back all their leaves and the spring breeze can cause a small spark to spread quickly.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.