Crews Battle Forest Fire on Kinsman Ridge in Woodstock
Firefighters continue to work to contain a forest fire on Dilly Cliff, which has led to the closure of the Kinsman Ridge Trail area of the Appalachian Trail in North Woodstock.The fire has burned about 22 acres. It is land owned by the Society for the Protection of NH Forests and the White Mountain National Forest.
The Woodstock Fire Department and N.H. Division of Forests and Lands are leading a multi-agency response. It includes more than 66 fire personnel from local, state, and federal departments.
The cause remains under investigation. One passerby told crews Tuesday night that he saw a meteorite land near the area.
Woodstock Fire Chief John MacKay says it's unclear what started the fire.
"Some gentleman did stop by last night when we were cleaning up here and said the night before he was driving by and he swears a meteor or something come down in front of him and landed at the bottom of this hill," he says.
That is unconfirmed, and maybe unlikely. MacKay says he's never heard of a meteorite causing a forest fire.
He says he hopes to contain the fire sometime today. Two helicopters are helping to douse tough-to-reach areas. The chief says it's very steep terrain.
Capt. John Accardi, a Forest Ranger with the N.H. Division of Forests and Lands, reports that the U.S. Forest Society issued an emergency closure order for portions of the Kinsman Ridge Trail, and surrounding areas, as a safety precaution. Hikers should consult the WMNF website for additional information.
The chief on Wednesday reported no injuries nor property damage. Route 112 remains open.
The Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves did close briefly Tuesday, but only to allow firefighters to use the parking lot as a staging area.
"We're open as usual. The Gorge itself was unaffected," says Jayne O'Connor, President of White Mountain Attractions Association, which operates Lost River Gorge.
Visitors and hikers at the Gorge could still see the smoke rising Wednesday from the nearby ridge.