Fire burns 9 acres of Poles Hill brush

·2 min read

Aug. 2—State and local firefighters spent much of Monday combatting a brush fire estimated to cover around 9 acres on Poles Hill on Gloucester's Wheeler Point.

No injuries were reported throughout the day and Gloucester Fire Assistant Chief Bob Rivas said the houses near the fire are not in any danger.

Gloucester Fire Department was alerted of the blaze at around 10:45 a.m. Its firefighters were soon joined by crews from Hamilton, Essex, Danvers and Middleton Fire Departments and the state Department of Conservation and Recreation's Forest Fire Unit.

The fire was under control at 4:30 p.m., according to Rivas, and the on-site personnel began to downsize. The Gloucester Fire crew from headquarters was sent back and the local fire departments were dismissed. Another Gloucester Fire crew was en route to take over the current shift.

"There's still some hot spots that we're knocking down," Rivas said. "We're working the perimeters right now. I don't know when we'll be done today."

Rivas said none of the houses on Wheeler Street were evacuated despite some scuttlebutt around the neighborhood that morning. No injuries were reported throughout the day and Rivas said the houses near the fire are not in any danger.

At 12:30 p.m., firefighters were rushing to install a network of fire hose extensions through homes' backyards up to the popular nature reserve.

"It's running through the dry brush right now," fire Chief Eric Smith said early in the battle. "We've had numerous issues with campfires and parties in the area. There may be a couple different spots up there."

"It's not a simple thing," Smith said about fighting the flames. "The hill is steep and the brush runs all the way to to the top of it."

Steve Carvalho, a resident of Wheeler Street, watched the blaze from a neighbor's front lawn earlier in the day.

"It's scary stuff," Carvalho said. "This is looking too close to comfort right now."

Carvalho said he first caught wind of the fire Monday around 10 a.m.

"With all the ash flying around, I was hitting my awning with water just in case some of the embers fly over," he said. "I've been noticing the shifting winds. It's blowing south right now and it might shift south east later in the day."

Rockport Fire crews were not on scene as they were working an intermittent brush fire in Woodland Acres in their town.

Beauport Ambulance Services, Gloucester Ambulance and Gloucester Police Department also provided assistance.

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or mcronin@gloucestertimes.com.

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or mcronin@gloucestertimes.com.