Four brush fires ignite in Meredith

MEREDITH — Firefighters spent much of yesterday afternoon containing then dousing a string of brush fires in wooded land along Daniel Webster Highway (US Route 3) south of the junction with Parade Road (NH Route 106).
Meredith Fire Chief Ken Jones said that near 1:30 p.m. firefighters arrived to find four separate fires within a third-of-a-mile stretch on the east side of the highway from just north of the Color Shed to south of Northview Drive. "We chose two," he said, "and two took off on us."
Except for Coos County the fire danger yesterday was class 4 or "very high" as dry weather, plentiful fuel and steady breezes created conditions in which fire starts easily from all causes then spread and increase in intensity rapidly. Jones said that because the fires were atop the hill, the wind hastened their spread.
Crews from Laconia, Center Harbor and Moultonborough responded to the first alarm while units from Holderness covered the Meredith Station. A unit from the Division of Forests and Lands of the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development also assisted at the scene.
Jones said that it was impractical to draw water from the pond across from Picnic Rock Farms and instead firefighters used the southernmost hydrant in town near Hart's Turkey Farm. Within an hour, Jones said, all four fires were surrounded and contained. Structures in the area, including a residence well off the road north of the Color Shed, were not threatened, though he estimated that one fire reached to within a hundred yards of an office building off Northview Drive.
Jones said he had no reason to believe the fires were deliberately set and suspected they may have begun when a vehicle or ATV passed through the area.
Daniel Webster Highway highway was closed to through traffic for about two hours before reopening around 3:30 p.m.