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Breakheart’s Burning

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Fires spoil the final week of summer vacation at Saugus state park; 79 acres catch fire

  Saugus Deputy Fire Chief Thomas D’Eon said he can’t remember having to battle a worse fire than the one that’s been burning acres of forest land at Breakheart Reservation for more than a week. “I have no idea when we’ll be reopening because it’s going to take a lot of post-recovery work to remove or take care of the many trees that have been damaged,” Deputy Chief D’Eon said this week as he took a break to reflect on the challenges of fighting the fire, which has already burned about 79 acres and damaged hundreds of trees.

  “Until we get substantial precipitation to soak down into the ground and root system, this could hang on for weeks or months,” he said.

  Firefighters and forest rangers are particularly concerned about the dangers of falling trees in cases where the root system can no longer support the trees. “When you get these burned-out trees that are falling, it can be really dangerous,” D’Eon said.

  At least twice this week – Sunday (Aug. 21) and Wednesday (Aug. 24) – a Massachusetts Air National Guard helicopter helped out by scooping up water from a nearby lake and dropping it into a fire zone. The National Guard helicopter used buckets of 450 gallons and 600 gallons to carry the water to the fires.

  Meanwhile, crews of 50 to 75 firefighters worked on the ground at any one time, with handheld hoses, trying to douse the fires.



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