TBT: dog discovers brush fire, alerts owner

For throwback Thursday:

From a post on Wildfire Today April 26, 2008:

Robert Lane and his dog, Max

In Ipswich, Massachusetts yesterday, a dog escaped from his leash, discovered a fire, then like Lassie, barked at his 13-year old master and led him to the fire.

Like a scene out of “Lassie,” Robert Lane, 13, followed his barking dog yesterday to a brush fire burning in the woods behind the family’s home, then ran to a vernal pool to soak his T-shirt in water to try to put out the 10-foot circle of flames.

“I just wanted to get it out as fast as possible,” Robert said.

Discovering the fire was bigger than he thought, Robert ran home to tell his mother, who called the Fire Department at 12:30 p.m. If not detected early by Robert and the family dog, Max, who had escaped its leash, the brush fire could have easily spread and damaged the home and construction business located on their property at 285 High St., David Lane said.

“It could’ve been 10 times worse,” David Lane said by phone last night. “If it wasn’t for the dog getting off the leash, we wouldn’t have a house.”

Firefighters from six communities were able to contain the fire to a 400-by-800 foot area of woods, about three-quarters of an acre, on property across from the Dow Brook Reservoir, said Ipswich firefighter Lee Prentiss. Lane’s antique horse-drawn manure spreader was destroyed, but an estimated 30 to 40 pieces of his equipment were not damaged.

From the Salem News. Photo courtesy of the Daily News.

Massachusetts man indicted for planting incendiary devices at powerline

One of the devices started a fire March 31.

This follows up on the first report of the incident on April 1, 2016.

Below is an excerpt from an article in the Lowell [Massachusetts] Sun:


“A Chelmsford man accused of planting explosive devices on National Grid power lines in Tyngsboro [Mass.] in March was indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday.

Danny Kelly, 61, of Chelmsford, was indicted on a charge of malicious destruction of property by fire. He has been held without bail since his arrest after Tyngsboro firefighters on March 30 responded to Locust Avenue near National Grid power lines for a brush fire that officials suspect was caused by one of five incendiary devices found at the scene.

A note found at the scene explained that the devices were designed to cause disruption to power from Canada to the United States.

Investigators focused on Kelly because in a 2004 case he was convicted of cutting 18 phone and cable lines in an extortion attempt against Nortel Networks, his former employer.

Kelly pleaded guilty to extortion and in 2006, a federal judge sentenced him to five years probation, ordered him to undergo mental-health treatment, possess no destructive devices and pay $378,041 in restitution.

As part of his 2004 case, Kelly was evaluated by Dr. Roger H. Gray, who performed a forensic psychological evaluation. Gray diagnosed Kelly as having symptoms of bipolar and paranoid-personality disorders.

After the incendiary devices were discovered on the National Grid power lines, a raid of Kelly ‘s 26 School St. home by the FBI and other officials yielded chemicals that could be used to make the pipe-bomb-type devices…”

Brush fire in Boston

A brush fire in a marshy area, or fen, in Boston received a lot of attention Thursday afternoon when dense black smoke affected much of the metropolitan area.

The fire was knocked down after a couple of hours. A police officer at the scene was transported to a hospital, but no information was provided about the officer’s condition or the nature of the injury.

Apparently reporters in the Boston area, and possibly fire department spokesmen, are not often tasked with covering vegetation fires:

From the Boston Herald:

According to Boston Fire spokesman Steve MacDonald, the fire was reported at about 2:15 p.m. and appears to have been caused by weeds and leaves that are burning along the Muddy River.

And from WCVB:

After the flames were knocked down, firefighters were seen trekking through the scorched brush with hoses.

Incendiary devices found on Massachusetts power line

One of the devices is believed to have started a vegetation fire.

Unusual incendiary devices were found hanging from a power line in Massachusetts on March 31. Firefighters reported the objects after they responded to the fire in Tyngsborough.

The photos below are screen grabs from an article at WMUR.com.

Powerline incendiary device Powerline incendiary device

Below is an excerpt from WMUR.com:

…Police said they found cylindrical metal objects on high power lines — that someone deliberately placed there.

“It would take a considerable effort to get up as high as they did in this instance,” said Howe.

Investigators said the devices looked like pipe bombs but were not explosive. They said it appears they were designed to start a fire and had to be manually activated.

“These devices were homemade,” FBI special agent Peter Kowenhoven said. “Those devices are going to now be moved to the FBI lab for analysis to identify the precursor chemicals, as well as the other parts of the device.”

Authorities haven’t said how many devices were found or how they were placed on the power lines.

“I can’t think of any other reason why somebody would want to do that, other than a sinister reason,” said Kowenhoven.

Agents said the fact that the objects were designed to catch fire — not explode — could help them pin down those responsible…

Other electricity transmission facilities in Nogales, Arizona and California’s Silicon Valley were targets of sabotage in 2013 and 2014.

Wildfire News, March 7, 2016

Alaska April wildfire potential
April wildfire potential in Alaska, based on vegetation conditions and weather predictions.

Fire officials say to ‘expect an early start’ to Alaska wildfire season.

Shooter’s tracer rounds ignite 2-day forest fire at Missouri gun range

–A proposed Utah law would enable police to shoot drones, but people have been arrested for doing so.

–A massive bushfire cut off and isolated the South Island town of Hanmer Springs, New Zealand on Tuesday (local time).

–The Arizona Wildfire Academy is taking place in Prescott this week.

Hubbardston, Massachusetts gets military surplus truck to help battle brush fires.

Hubbardston Mass mil surplus truck
Hubbardston, Mass. military surplus truck. Photo: Hubbardston Fire Department.

Red Flag Warnings, April 6, 2013

wildfire Red Flag Warnings, 4-6-2013

Red Flag Warnings for enhanced wildfire danger have been issued by the National Weather Service for areas in New Mexico, Kentucky, Indiana, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

The NWS predicts there will be a Critical Risk for wildfire danger in New Mexico and western Texas for the next few days.

Critical fire weather
Critical fire weather April 7-13, 2013


The Red Flag Warning map above was current as of 9 a.m. MT on Saturday. Red Flag Warnings can change throughout the day as the National Weather Service offices around the country update and revise their forecasts. For the most current data, visit this NWS site.