By ROGER AMSDEN, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
HOLDERNESS — A brush fire, which brought dozens of firefighters to the Rattlesnake Mountain area before it was extinguished Wednesday afternoon, was most likely caused by a tree branch which fell onto a power line, where it started to burn and then dropped to the ground, catching fallen leaves on fire.
That's the explanation for the how the fire, which was reported at 2:15 p.m., started, according to Holderness Fire Chief Eleanor Mardin, who said that said the fire on Pinehurst Road, which runs beside the mountain, was first reported by workers from the nearby Rockywold-Deephaven camps.
"They knocked most of it down before we arrived," said Mardin, who praised the efforts of the camp's staff in locating and helping to control the fire.
The workers were closing up the camp, which is famous nationwide for using old-fashioned ice boxes rather than refrigerators in its rustic cabins, and had just finished a staff meeting at 2 p.m., when they became aware of the fire.
"We got outside after the meeting and someone said they smelled smoke. That's not unusual for this time of year, but it was pretty strong. And then we saw some ashes in the air," sad John Jurczynski, camp director.
He said that workers drove onto Pinehurst Road and discovered the fire about 150 feet down the road in a wooded area. "We used Indian pumps and rakes and shovels to try and put it out. We have a pump which we can draw water from the lake with, but it was a long way from the lake and would have taken us too long to lay down the water line. It wasn't long before the forest fire crews arrived and were able to use their equipment to reach the fire," said Jurczynski.
Mardin said that firefighters from Ashland, Plymouth, Sandwich, Center Harbor, Meredith, Campton, New Hampton and Moultonborough responded to the scene and were able to contain the fire to an area a little over two acres in size.
She said that firefighters were able to leave the scene by around 6 p.m.
Workers from the Rockywold-Deephaven camps discovered a brush fire off from Pinehurst Road in Holderness Wednesday afternoon and used back carried water pumps to help control it until firefighting crews arrived. (John Jurczynski photo)
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