UPDATE: Brush fire burns 1.5 acres behind Floral Street School in Shrewsbury

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UPDATE: Brush fire burns 1.5 acres behind Floral Street School in Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury firefighters quell a small brush fire behind the Floral Street School in town. (Photo/via Shrewsbury Fire Department)

UPDATE: This article has been updated with photos showing the aftermath Friday’s brush fire in Shrewsbury. Comments from Fire Chief Jim Vuona and information contained in a fire report filing have also been added.

SHREWSBURY – A fast moving brush fire burned through part of a forested area behind the Floral Street School in Shrewsbury on Friday afternoon, occupying firefighters for multiple hours on scene.

The blaze burned roughly 1.5 acres of town-owned land, according to the Shrewsbury Fire Department.

This incident was complicated by wind, which fanned the flames and helped them spread, the Fire Department added in a social media post and a fire report filed after the incident.

Crews knock down fire

An initial call reporting this brush fire came in just before 4 p.m.

Firefighters arrived on scene to then find heavy smoke from the blaze, which “quickly escalated” due to wind.

Crews managed to knock down the fire, ultimately leaving the scene just after 6 p.m.

Experts note spring fire risks

This fire took place as experts across the region had already warned of increased fire risks in recent days and weeks.

The Northborough and Westborough fire departments both noted bans on open burning on Thursday and Friday through social media, with Northborough citing “elevated fire danger” on Friday morning.

The National Weather Service’s Boston office, itself, noted continuing dry conditions in multiple weather bulletins.

Beyond specific forecasts, a fact sheet assembled by the state Department of Fire Services notes greater fire danger at this time of year, citing “strong and unpredictable winds” coupled with other environmental factors.

“When snow recedes, but before new growth emerges, last year’s dead grass, leaves and wood are dangerous tinder,” the state says.

This Shrewsbury fire came exactly one week after another documented brush fire in Southborough, which singed a patch of forest near the Westborough town line.

Topography of fire area posed challenges

Contacted on Monday, Fire Chief Jim Vuona said his department typically sees “several” brush fires of this size per year.

“Obviously – the dryer the season – the more brush fires we will deal with,” he said.

Where crews have experience in local brush fire situations, Vuona acknowledged that the topography of the land involved in this fire was a challenge.

Previously viewed on Saturday, roughly 12 hours after firefighters left the scene, the burn area, indeed, stretched across a series of trails snaking down a slight slope several hundred feet from nearby roadways.
The cause of this fire remained undetermined as of Monday morning.

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