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Nov 17, 2016 11:10 AM

White Mountains wildfire largest in 100 years, trails and campground closed


Officials have closed a portion of forest land to the public after a fire broke out earlier this week.

Fire officials say the blaze, known now as the Covered Bridge Fire, is the largest New Hampshire wildland fire in about 100 years. It has scorched 329 acres, said Tiffany Benna, a public affairs officer for the White Mountain National Forest where the fire is burning.

Though some of the assembled firefighters working the blaze have been demobilized, Benna said crews are still on-site dousing hot spots.

Benna said the fire is not spreading, but it remains dangerous."Crews are still out there even after the rain," she said. "They are gridding the area looking for hotspots and making sure everything is out and cold."

The closure order outlines the affected area as "bounded by FR 28 (Deer Brook Road), FR 28A (Deer Brook Spur A). the Passaconaway Road nad FR 602 (Big Brook Road), then a straight line connecting the ends of FR 28A and FR 602."

Firefighters, she said, are concerned with smoldering roots and are looking at now hazardous trees that are "closer to falling than standing." Therefore, she said, the Covered Bridge Campground as well as the Boulder Loop Trail are currently off limits to the public.

There is no time frame as far as knowing when firefighting operations will wrap up in the area.

Benna said prescribed burns are scheduled in the forest, and this area had been eyed as a site for planned operations.

The fire began with a homeowner's permitted outdoor fire.

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