Fire left smoldering at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land

Above: Southborugh Fire Department responded to put out dirt left smoldering at Breakneck Hill that could have caused a more widespread fire. (contributed photo)

A steward of the Breakneck Hill Conservation Land asked me to share news and a warning with the community.

Apparenlty some after dark visitors built a small fire on a trail on Breakneck Hill last night. Today, someone walking the trail stumbled on the still-smoldering remains. A gallon of water poured over the hot earth turned to steam instead of quelching the burn. The Southborough Fire Department had to be called in to douse the area.

Steward Freddie Gillespie assumes that fire builders thought they had extinguished it. Clearly, they weren’t successful.

Gillespie asked me to remind residents that the land is closed after dark and, of course, fires are prohibited on the land. More importantly, she asked me to warn readers about the potential dangers from building fires there.

She highlighted that the land is in “pre-drought condition”. She pointed out the danger of quickly spreading sparks and flames thanks to nearby needles, leaves, and brush.

And she said that even when the embers seem put out, when the dirt gets that hot, a fire can burn below the surface and spread to other areas. (Back in 2016, the SFD explained that a stubborn brush fire in town that kept popping up seemed to have slowly spread underground.)

Here are more pictures from today’s incident. Pictures show how the hot burning ground turned water into steam.

SFD responds to Breakneck Hill Firefighter dousing small fire embers at Breakneck Hill fire remains at Breakneck Hill

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