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Brush fire torches up to 50 acres in Brimfield

A brush fire raged across up to 50 acres of private land in Brimfield on Wednesday, prompting some residents to voluntarily leave their homes, officials said.

State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan said the fire started about 11:30 a.m. and ignited piles of debris left over from a tornado that devastated the area in June.

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He said dry air and high winds fueled the fire, which remained active late Wednesday. Firefighters planned to work through the night to monitor hot spots and douse any flare-ups, Coan said.

Brimfield Fire Chief Fred Piechota said there were no injuries. He said residents had voluntarily left a few homes on Paige Hill Road that were located near the blaze, but authorities had not ordered any evacuations.

He said the blaze “pretty much bore out our worst fears that, if there’s a fire in a debris area . . . we can’t get at it.’’

Piechota and other officials recently told the Globe that the next few months could be the most dangerous forest fire season in recent memory, because of dryness from the lack of snowfall and debris from last year’s tornadoes and other storms.

Edward Lambert, commissioner of the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, one of several agencies that assisted in the fire, said his agency will continue clearing debris on Thursday from Brimfield State Forest.

The forest was not affected but is viewed as a potential trouble spot.

More than 9,000 fallen trees have already been cleared from the forest since the June tornado, Lambert said.

Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Zachary Sampson can be reached at zachary.sampson@globe.com.
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