Updated at 6:01 PM EDT on Sunday, Apr 19, 2015
A brush fire broke out in New Hartford Saturday afternoon in Nepaug State Forest. Firefighters from 15 fire departments responded to a brush fire that torched about 8 acres at Nepaug State Forest in New Hartford off Stele Road. The fire was 50 percent contained as of 7 p.m. Saturday. Crews were concerned they would have to fight the fire in the dark overnight, but they were able to contain it by about 9 p.m.
Forest Fire Danger “Very High” in Connecticut
The brush fire is deep in the woods and crews are trucking water in and transporting personnel, water and supplies to the fire site on all-terrain vehicles. The call came in about 1:52 p.m, Litchfield County Dispatch confirmed. Another challenge to firefighters is the hilly terrain near the fire site, according to Litchfield County Dispach. “Very high fire danger which was advertised for today. You’re talking very rugged terrain up there: rocks and hills and a lack of water actually. Getting water to the scene has been a struggle so far,” John Barbagallo, public information officer for the Norfolk fire department, said.
New Hartford, Canton, Burlington, Simsbury, Farmington, Avon, Granby, Winsted/Winchester, Woodbury, Norfolk, Torrington, Bantam, Colebrook, Harwinton, Barkhamsted, Pine Meadow, Riverton, Pleasant Valley, Nepaug, Colebrook and Harwinton firefighters are responding. The initial report indicated that the fire was about 5 acres, but Canton police said earlier in the day they received information it may have spread.
Firefighters didn’t encounter any hikers or campers when they went into the forest.
Some fire departments are stationed on the Route 202 side of the orest and others are on the opposite side of the forest off Route 44 near the Satan’s Kingdom tubing area and Portobello’s restaurant. The fire comes on a day whern the forest fire danger level is very high in Connecticut and conditions are ripe for brush to become kindling. The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning because of wind and humidity. As of 4:30 p.m., fire officials said they expect to be on scene for several more hours. The cause of the fire is unknown.
DEEP crews returned Sunday to conduct “mop up operations” and deemed that there’s no further threat of fire reigniting, according to Dennis Schain, spokesperson for DEEP.
There was also a brush fire Saturday night off Main Street in East Hartford near Route 2. The Willow Street off-ramp on the westbound side was closed during the fire and reopened around 8:45 p.m. when the fire was extinguished.