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Large Brush Fire Scorches Western Massachusetts

Fire crews battle an 800-acre fire in northern Berkshire County. (Savoy Fire Rescue/Facebook)
Fire crews battle an 800-acre fire in northern Berkshire County. (Savoy Fire Rescue/Facebook)

A western Massachusetts brush fire has spread across nearly 1,000 acres (405 hectares) and is now the state's largest wildland fire in more than two decades, state officials said.

The East Mountain fire in the Clarksburg State Forest that started Friday was more than 75% contained, according to the latest information, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services said Tuesday.

Crews have started dousing hotspots and patrolling the perimeter to control further spread, Jennifer Mieth said. That could take several more days.

More than 120 firefighters from 19 departments in Massachusetts and Vermont have helped battle the fire while the National Guard and Massachusetts State Police dropped water on it from helicopters.

No structures are threatened and there are no major health threats to area residents, authorities said. One firefighter was taken to the hospital over the weekend.

The fire is burning leaves and forest debris. The soil is fairly moist so it is not burning deeply. Streams are serving as natural barriers.

The fire is thought to be the largest wildland fire in the state since the 1,100-acre (445-hectare) Tekoa Mountain fire in Russell in April 1999 that claimed the life of Russell Deputy Fire Chief John Murphy, authorities said.

This article was originally published on May 18, 2021.

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