Firefighters continue efforts to put out multi-day forest fire in the Berkshires

Berkshire County

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. (WWLP) – Fire crews will continue working to put out a fire that burned 947 acres on the East Mountain in the Clarksburg State Forest Tuesday.

The fire started burning Friday night in Williamstown in a remote wooded area that is difficult to get to and hasn’t reached any structures.

According to Massachusetts Department of Fire Services spokesperson Jennifer Mieth, one firefighter was taken to the hospital over the weekend but he is in good condition and remains hospitalized.

The Williamstown Fire Chief Craig A. Pedercini, State Fire Warden David Celino, and North Adams Mayor Thomas W. Bernard provided an update on the fire on Monday afternoon. They said the fire has been contained to 90 percent as of Monday and is still burning in steep, wooded terrain. Efforts to put out the fire were stopped before dark as no structures or people were in danger and it was too dangerous for firefighters to continue working in the dark.

According to Mieth, the fire is burning leaf litter and forest debris. The soil itself is fairly moist so it is not burning very deeply, and brooks and streams are serving as natural barriers. Firefighters hope to transition to a patrol Tuesday and “mop-up” operations to put out spots likely to reignite over the next several days.

Meith said this is the largest wildland fire in Massachusetts since the April 9, 1999, Tekoa Mountain fire in Russell that burned 1100 acres and claimed the life of Russell Deputy Fire Chief John Murphy.

Over 120 firefighters from the following surrounding towns have worked to help put out the fire:

  • Adams Forest Wardens
  • Bennington (VT) Fire Department
  • Bennington (VT) Rural Fire Department
  • Charlemont Fire Department
  • Clarksburg Fire Department
  • Florida Fire Department
  • Franklin County Hand Crew
  • Hinsdale Fire Department
  • North Adams Fire Department
  • Pownal (VT) Fire Department
  • Pownal Valley (VT) Fire Department
  • Rowe Fire Department
  • Richmond Fire Department
  • Savoy Fire Department
  • Shaftsbury (VT) Fire Department
  • Stamford Fire Department
  • Williamstown Fire Department
  • Williamstown Forestry

The state Bureau of Fire Control, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts National Guard, and the National Park Service are all also assisting and will monitor daily until significant rain.

The Appalachian Trail is being impacted by the fire and hikers are asked to stay clear of the area for their own health and safety.

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