HomeEnvironmentOfficials extinguish fourth brush fire in April, fifth in season

Officials extinguish fourth brush fire in April, fifth in season

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WESTFORD — A brush fire was extinguished in the wooded area near the American Legion Field, marking the fifth brush fire in Westford since March 31.

brush fire aerial
Aerial view of the affected land between the American Legion Field, Stony Brook School and East Boston Camps. (Photo/Ben Domaingue)

In the most recent fire on April 22, approximately half an acre burned. Since March 31, approximately 22 acres of land between Stony Brook School, East Boston Camps and the American Legion Field have been affected.

Conservation, Water Department land impacted by fire

brush fire
Westford, Littleton, Groton and Ayer fire departments responded to an approximate 16 acre brush fire in Westford on March 31. (Photo/Westford Fire Department)

Over 16 acres of affected land falls within the jurisdiction of the Conservation Commission, while other sections belong to other departments within the town, such as the Water Department, According to Conservation Resource Planner Matthew Salem. The department is evaluating the affected land.

“We’ll see what regrows,” Salem told WestfordCAT. “Everything is still growing through the spring and we’ll take action as needed.”

Prescribed brush fires are “essential” for managing wildlife habitats and “fire-influenced natural communities,” according to MassWildlife. These planned fires benefit approximately 40% of plant and animal species on the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. The recent fire was not prescribed, according to Salem.

Officials seek community help in investigation

While the Conservation Commission is evaluating the changes to the land, the Westford Fire Department and Westford Police Department are seeking information on suspicious activity from the community.

“If they see suspicious people walking in and out of the woods, with a backpack or something just to say something,” Westford Fire Capt. Mark Valcourt told WestfordCAT. 

At this time, the departments are actively investigating the cause of the recent fires, which remains undetermined.

“I’m not sure about that [arson],” said Valcourt. “It is being investigated by the police department.”

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation did not respond for comment.

The investigation is ongoing. The department is asking residents to report any information to the Westford Public Safety Communication enter at 978-399-2345. 

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Ben Domaingue
Ben Domaingue has previously worked at newspapers in New Hampshire and is a News Reporter covering Westford. He’s passionate about community journalism, photography and hiking.