(NECN: Brian Burnell) - Watching firefighters set fire to the woods may seem counter-intuitive, but it's part of the effort to contain the brush fire in Devil's Hopyard State Park in East Haddam, Conn.
If they can burn the fuel before the brush fire reaches it, they can keep it hemmed in and away from two houses that were threatened. The brush fire started late Monday and dozens of firefighters from nearby departments stayed in the park overnight to try and get it under control.
"We're not sure the cause. We know was some hikers were in there. I'm sure it was human caused. The exact cause right now we're investigating," said DEEP Fire Supervisor Ralph Scarpino.
They can't put the fire out because of the amount of fuel and the terrain, so they've decided to let it burn itself out.
"It's very steep," explained Scarpino. "There's some cliffs in there. Dead Hemlock causing some control problems."
The plan is to use natural and man-made firebreaks to stop the flames. The road is useful to the firefighters because it is a man-made firebreak. And the river also acts as a natural firebreak. The fire will come up to the riverbank, up to the roadside and stop, unless the wind catches an ember or a spark and blows it over the road or the river, which will cause the fire to spread.
People who have lived here a while say they've never seen a brush fire like this.
"I could see orange flames coming off the hill. That made me nervous," said East Haddam, Conn. resident Barbara Rogeson. "We've been here 12 years and nothing like this. This is crazy."