Gloucester Fire Department, Mutual Aid Partners Extinguish Large Brush Fire

Chief Eric Smith reports that the Gloucester Fire Department, with significant assistance from mutual aid partners, extinguished a large brush on Saturday.

On Saturday, April 8, at approximately 12:12 p.m., Gloucester Fire received a report of smoke in the area of Hillside Court. First responders from Engine 3 arrived within five minutes. Upon arrival crews observed a large brush fire, requested Engine 1, and struck a second alarm.

Under the direction of incident commander Assistant Fire Chief Robert Rivas, Engines 2, 4, and 6, and Rescue 1 were called to the scene, and were assisted by the Rockport Fire (drone crew), Essex Fire Department, and DCR State Forestry Fire Control crews.

Crews worked aggressively to contain the fire, and were deployed to adjacent residential areas, including Colburn Street, Essex Street, North Kilby Street, Quarry Street, and Washington Street, to protect residents and property.

No injuries were reported. The state Department of Conservation and Recreation Forest Fire Control estimates 64 acres were burned.

“Brush fires can be extremely challenging, and I want to commend all the responders for containing the fire under dry conditions,” Chief Smith said.

A preliminary investigation determined that the home’s owner was conducting a permitted burn which grew out of control. The burn permit has been revoked. Gloucester crews will continue to monitor the area.

The Gloucester Fire Department wishes to thank the Gloucester Police Department for providing traffic control; the Rockport Fire Department, which supplied a drone to assist fire responders, and the Essex Fire Department; the Danvers, Ipswich, and Manchester-by-the-Sea Fire Departments for providing station coverage; and Beauport Ambulance for support at the scene.

Chief Smith and the Gloucester Fire Department also wish to share the City regulations regarding open burning and permit requirements:

  • Open burning is allowed from Jan. 15 to May 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Open burning is only allowed by permit, which may be obtained online at Gloucester’s Online Permitting Central; those without internet access may visit headquarters at 8 School St.
  • The Department will determine daily whether open burning may be conducted safely. Status updates are available by calling 978-325-5306.
  • Burning must be conducted at least 75 feet from all buildings.

Burning with a permit for the following materials is allowed:

  • Brush, cane, driftwood, and forestry debris from other than commercial or industrial land clearing operations.
  • Materials normally associated with the pursuit of agriculture such as fruit tree prunings, dead raspberry stalks, blueberry patches for pruning purposes, and infected beehives for disease control.
  • Trees and brush resulting from agricultural land clearing.
  • Fungus-infected elm wood, if no other acceptable means of disposal is available.

Burning of the following materials is prohibited statewide:

  • Brush, trees, cane, and driftwood from commercial and/or industrial land clearing operations.
  • Grass, hay, leaves and stumps, and tires.
  • Construction material and debris.

For more information about open burning and permits, please visit the Fire Department website.

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