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Apr 22, 2016 4:00 PM

Firefighters tackle massive 2-day forest fire in Stoddard, officials say arrest made

NH1.com

STODDARD — Officials said an arrest has been made as the state continues to face problems with brush fires, firefighters in Stoddard worked through the night to tackle a massive two-day fire due to dry air conditions.

A press conference is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Keene.

"I've been doing this for 16 years, and I have never seen a fire like this," said Stoddard Deputy Chief Randy Weaver.

Weaver has been at the scene of the 190-acre forest fire for several hours at a time, switching on and off tackling the flames.

With acres upon acres burned to a crisp Thursday night into Friday, the town is a little suspicious.

"Certainly these were not accidental - these are suspicious in nature," said Brad Simpkins of N.H. Forrest and Land.

The fire has been burning since 1 p.m. on Thursday, and witnesses told officials they saw two people on dirt bikes who set the fire.

"They could be facing criminal mischief," said Simpkins, listing some of the charges that came to mind.

While police say an arson investigation is on its way, firefighters from multiple towns and even Vermont say they'll be on site through the weekend putting out hot spots.

In Keene, 17 homes were evacuated, and those families were offered shelter. No one was injured and no homes were damaged. Those people have since been allowed to go back home.

The fire was contained as of Friday afternoon.

Witnesses with potential information to report are encouraged to call the state’s arson hotline at (800) 400-3526.

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