Forest fires

Elevated Fire Risk Today

The combination of dry air and gusty winds will enhance the risk for fires across the state, including on the Vineyard, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has announced.

The National Weather Service has issued a special weather statement warning of the increased threat.

“Local Fire Weather officials have advised that fine fuels, grasses and leaf litter, will be very receptive for ignition. In fact any fire across unshaded fine fuels can rapidly spread in these gusty conditions,” the statement said.

Forest Fire Management Includes Controlled Burns

State foresters and Nature Conservancy fire ecology experts will draft a fire management plan for Manuel Correllus State Forest on Martha’s Vineyard, to guide ongoing fire work, thanks to recent funding from the U.S. Forest Service.

The $374,000 also will cover the partnership to restore 925 acres in Massachusetts with prescribed fire over the next year, to manage ecosystems and improve public safety.


Clearing Trees To See Forest’s Old Ecosystem

The red pine plantations of the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest have been described as recently as 1998 by this paper as a “pine cathedral,” with evenly spaced rows of the northern evergreen towering above a forest floor nearly barren except for a carpet of needles. Now that cathedral has been all but sacked by fungal barbarians known as diplodia pinea which infect the trees from the shoots and rot them to the core.


Spring Burns Begin Across Island to Dampen Danger of Big Fires

“We all help each other burn each other’s property,” says Bob Bale, the Nature Conservancy’s Southeast Massachusetts chapter fire manager. It may sound like an insurance fraud pact among pyromaniacs, but Mr. Bale is describing the efforts of the Martha’s Vineyard Prescribed Fire Partnership, a group that includes the Nature Conservancy, Mass Audubon’s Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, The Trustees of Reservations, the Polly Hill Arboretum and the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation.

Risk of Forest Fire High Due to Summer Drought; Public Caution Is Urged

Against a backdrop of prolonged summer drought, the threat of wildfire in the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest is now high, and Island fire chiefs this week issued grave words of caution to the public.

State Forest Fire Plans Raise Threat of Lawsuit To Block Clearing Work

The state's fire control plans for the 5,200-acre Manuel F. Corellus State Forest have come under attack by the scientific community and the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a watchdog organization. The advocacy group threatens possible legal action to block state forest teams from clearing hundreds of acres of woodland along strategic fire lines.

New Plan Cuts Wildfire Threat

The Department of Environmental Management's Division of Forests and Parks won permission Tuesday to move forward with new efforts to manage the 5,200-acre Manuel F. Correllus State Forest.

The high risk of forest fires poses a danger for residents abutting the state property. In June, Bob Durand, secretary of the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, arrived on the Vineyard with news of an initiative to address that danger.

Controlled Burns Wins Support

Edgartown selectmen this week affirmed the use of fire as a land management tool as long as members of The Nature Conservancy continue to work closely with the town's fire chief.

Joel R. Carlson, a fire manager for The Nature Conservancy, came before the selectmen to answer concerns about the risk of setting fires in wooded areas. The meeting was attended by representatives of the town conservation commission and the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest.

The Vineyard Forest Reserve

With the latest acquisition of land by the state, the order of tak­ing of which by the Department of Conservation was published in last week’s paper, the forest reserve on Martha’s Vineyard comprises about 5000 acres. Encircling the heath hen reservation, which consists of 640 acres, this tract extends over the eastern plain lands, the least valuable of any land on the Island.

Friday's Fierce Fire

Friday, May 12th, was a day of excitement over the eastern half of Martha's Vineyard when men from the towns of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury and West Tisbury, and the country roundabout, in all to the number of several hundred persons, labored from 7 a. m. until nightfall, handicapped by a heavy wind, at times approaching a gale, in their efforts to control one of the most extensive woods and brush fires which has occurred on the island in years, if ever before. The property loss runs into the thousands.