Shelburne fire grows; brush fire put out in Tamworth

  • Firefighters assess damage during a wildfire in Shelburne in the White Mountain National Forest. Ben McLane—USDA Forest Service

  • Firefighters assess damage during a wildfire in Shelburne in the White Mountain National Forest. Ben McLane—USDA Forest Service

The Conway Daily Sun
Published: 5/13/2022 9:43:19 AM
Modified: 5/13/2022 9:41:41 AM

Fire and rescue personnel from several Carroll County and Western Maine departments responded quickly Monday afternoon to prevent a brush fire at the Sandwich/Tamworth town line from spreading.

Meanwhile, White Mountain National Forest fire personnel and North Country firefighters are continuing to battle the so-called Centennial Fire in Shelburne, U.S. Forest Service officials said Tuesday evening.

The fire, reported to have burned 10 acres Monday, has grown to encompass 45 acres.

Due to low relative humidity, warmer than normal temperatures and gusty winds, growth potential exists. The fire is burning in steep, mountainous terrain and has burned across a portion of the Appalachian Trail.

The Appalachian Trail Corridor is closed at the junction from Lead Mine State Forest to the Junction of the Centennial Trail and the Mahoosuc Trail.

A person of interest has been identified and interviewed by USFS law enforcement personnel. While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, it may have been due to a warming fire that accidentally escaped.

For public safety, the Forest Service continues to advise that people stay away from the area.

Meanwhile, according to the Tamworth Fire Rescue Facebook page on Tuesday, “departments from the Lakes, Mount Washington Valley and Ossipee Valley region all responded to assist with the fast-spreading wildfire.”

The post said 19 departments responded: Tamworth, Center Ossipee, Ossipee Corner, West Ossipee, Madison, Freedom, Sandwich, Wakefield, Effingham, Conway Village, North Conway, Redstone, East Conway, Center Conway, Moultonborough, Center Harbor, Tuftonboro, Wolfeboro, state forest rangers and Lebanon, Maine. Newfields, Maine, had an ambulance on the scene along with Action Ambulance.

Tuesday was deemed a “Red Flag Warning” by the State Fire Marshal’s Office due to the extremely dry conditions.

“The combination of winds gusting up to 25 mph and very dry air with relative humidity values falling between 10 and 15 percent is expected to create critical fire weather conditions today,” the fire marshal’s office said. “Dead and dry vegetation will combine with these weather conditions.”

North Conway Fire Chief Pat Preece said Wednesday’s conditions remain “extremely dry” in the woods. “The wind is drying everything out right now,” he said by phone. “The threat of fire spreading is much greater with the wind.”

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