Wildfire in Pawtuckaway State Park under investigation
Wildland firefighters are currently working to contain a wildfire which may have been sparked by an illegal campfire situated in a remote section of Pawtuckaway State Park in Nottingham.
The fire’s location, near the Boulder Field area of the park, makes it difficult to get water to the site. In addition to the challenges for firefighters caused by current weather conditions – with temperatures in the 90s and high humidity – the fire is burning deep into the forest’s duff layer, forcing firefighters to dig deep in order to extinguish all embers.
The fire was reported Sunday afternoon after being spotted from the Pawtuckaway fire tower and is estimated to have started late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning.
Wildland firefighters from the N.H. Forest Protection Bureau, Nottingham Fire Department and mutual aid departments from surrounding towns are on scene. As of Tuesday morning, the fire is 2.4 acres and 50 percent contained.
The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Forest Ranger Abigail Nehiley from the N.H. Forest Protection Bureau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Having a campfire, or any fire, without a permit and landowner permission is a misdemeanor in New Hampshire and the person who caused it is liable for damages and all expenses incurred to extinguish it,” said Captain Michael Matson of the N.H. Forest Protection Bureau. “With more than 85 percent of New Hampshire currently experiencing moderate drought, and the entire state classified as abnormally dry, illegal fires can be even more dangerous and destructive because it can take time to spot them and dispatch a wildfire suppression team to the scene to extinguish it.”
“To help protect our beautiful state’s natural resources for all to enjoy, it’s vitally important to make sure not only that it’s okay to have a campfire, but also that your fire is completely out before you leave it,” said Captain Matson. “That means drowning it with water, stirring the ash and using the back of your hand to feel for heat. If it’s still warm, there’s still hot burning material present that can cause a wildfire so you need to repeat the process until the site is totally cold.”
Wildland firefighters are also working to contain another wildfire which appears to have been caused by an abandoned illegal campfire in Hinsdale at Pisgah State Park.
Anyone wishing to have a campfire or other category of fire in New Hampshire may obtain a burn permit at nhfirepermit.com.