The fire chief in Tamworth says an outdoor fire at a field in Wonalancet early Tuesday afternoon would have likely spread further if firefighters hadn’t reached it when they did.
Rich Colcord says three of his engines, a forestry truck from Sandwich and a state forest ranger made it to the 40-acre hay field off Brown Hill Rd. shortly after 12:30 p.m. and found four people trying to contain a grass fire they had started.
The chief says arriving firefighters found the fire was wind driven and out of control – with winds increasing because of an approaching cold front.
A crew from North Conway Ambulance evaluated two of the people at the scene who did not require hospitalization. The chief says a nearby power pole caught fire but did not interrupt service. The smoke was so thick it completely blocked visibility for a time on Route 113A.
It took about three hours to extinguish the fire, and it was declared out shortly after 3:30 p.m.
Callers told Carroll County dispatchers they could see smoke but the property owners reportedly did not call the fire department for help because they were afraid they would be charged to put the fire out. They were cooperative and apologetic and issued a written warning.
The chief says permits are required for all outside burns – and they are only issued if you have enough people to control the fire, a way to put it out, only burn after 5 p.m. and have it out by the next morning, weather conditions are good and the smoke doesn’t create a hazard.
Colcord says most of New Hampshire got very little rain Tuesday night and gusty winds Wednesday will keep the fire danger at a moderate level. The danger may increase Thursday because of predicted gusty winds and less humidity.