Vineyard Gazette
Last Sunday, at about ten o’clock, with a high wind blowing from the westward, afterwards more southerly, a fire started in Quampacha Bottom, on Dr.
Forest fires
Vineyard Gazette
The forest fire which races across the large section of the island known as “The Plains” lasted two days and burned through to West Tisbury.
Forest fires
Vineyard Gazette
With the latest acquisition of land by the state, the order of tak­ing of which by the Department of Conservation was published in last week’s paper, the forest reserve on Martha’s Vineyard compr
Manuel F Correllus State Forest
Forest fires


The combination of dry air and gusty winds will enhance the risk for fires across the state, including on the Vineyard, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has announced.

The National Weather Service has issued a special weather statement warning of the increased threat.

“Local Fire Weather officials have advised that fine fuels, grasses and leaf litter, will be very receptive for ignition. In fact any fire across unshaded fine fuels can rapidly spread in these gusty conditions,” the statement said.


If this year isn’t the driest on record for the Vineyard, it is certainly one of the driest, according to meteorologists. So far the Vineyard has received just over eight inches of precipitation through Tuesday, about half its yearly average over the same time period.

The unusual conditions have meant an elevated risk of brush and other fires, and the Vineyard has been part of a fire weather advisory for the region for much of the past few weeks.


State foresters and Nature Conservancy fire ecology experts will draft a fire management plan for Manuel Correllus State Forest on Martha’s Vineyard, to guide ongoing fire work, thanks to recent funding from the U.S. Forest Service.

The $374,000 also will cover the partnership to restore 925 acres in Massachusetts with prescribed fire over the next year, to manage ecosystems and improve public safety.



The red pine plantations of the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest have been described as recently as 1998 by this paper as a “pine cathedral,” with evenly spaced rows of the northern evergreen towering above a forest floor nearly barren except for a carpet of needles. Now that cathedral has been all but sacked by fungal barbarians known as diplodia pinea which infect the trees from the shoots and rot them to the core.


“We all help each other burn each other’s property,” says Bob Bale, the Nature Conservancy’s Southeast Massachusetts chapter fire manager. It may sound like an insurance fraud pact among pyromaniacs, but Mr. Bale is describing the efforts of the Martha’s Vineyard Prescribed Fire Partnership, a group that includes the Nature Conservancy, Mass Audubon’s Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, The Trustees of Reservations, the Polly Hill Arboretum and the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation.


Against a backdrop of prolonged summer drought, the threat of wildfire in the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest is now high, and Island fire chiefs this week issued grave words of caution to the public.