Firefighters from several towns are continuing to battle a large brush fire that's spanning hundreds of acres in Middletown.
The fire is in the area of River Road, Aircraft Road and Freeman Road. The state Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection said the fire was caused by a downed power lines and the high winds made their response challenging.
It is burning near high-tension power lines and emergency officials asked people in the area to shelter in place because of the smoke, according to the Middlesex County Regional Fire Coordinator.
This advisory has since lifted, but firefighters are still asking people to avoid the area.
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South Fire District Chief Jim Trzaski said they were dispatched to a report of a downed wire on River Road. When firefighters got there, there was a live wire down on the road, which they say was caused by a tree limb that had fallen.
“Eversource was called and their response was quite quick. However the wind took that small fire and just drove it up the side of the mountain," Trzaski said.
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"The wind pushed the fire up the hill and over the top of the ridge, which caused fire heights of about 30, 40 feet in the air. So we had fire rolling around tree tops and that led to the spread of the fire because the embers were falling below onto the dry forest floor," Trzaski continued.
Eversource said in a statement that they are working with Middletown fire officials to better understand what may have caused the brush fire.
"We do know yesterday’s windy conditions brought a tree down on our distribution lines in an area near the brushfire. We also know that the fire did at one point begin to approach our transmission lines in the area, however, they were not damaged. We’ll continue to work with local officials and our team to better understand the sequence of events and potential cause of the fire." Eversource said in a statement.
The fire chief said rain over the weekend was dried out by winds, causing the unusually large brush fire.
Crews said the brush fire is burning state, city and private property. It's not currently threatening structures, but some are being protected by firefighters.
At this time, authorities are trying to maintain perimeter controls by conducting back burns and hope to get a better estimate in size.
About 100 firefighters from 10 departments originally responded to try and bring the fire under control. Strong winds caused the fire to spread at a speed of about 12 to 15 miles per hour.
The Middlesex Regional Fire coordinator said at least 250 acres have burned so far. Fire officials said it could be close to 300 acres burned when all is said and done.
The smoke from the fire could be seen from Hartford.
No injuries have been reported and there were no evacuations.
There is also a separate brush fire on the Middletown and Higganum town line and fire officials are calling it suspicious. The fire is where River Road in Middletown meets Dublin Hill Road in Higganum. Authorities did not release details on how big this fire is or what may have started it.
Anyone who sees a fire break out is asked to call their local fire department.
Parts of Connecticut are at a "very high" fire danger level, according to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.