Local News

Officials say wildfires plaguing North Shore were intentionally set

Authorities said about 400 acres of land burned as a result of the suspicious fires set in the Lynn Woods Reservation.

A firefighter extinguishes a fire in the Breakheart Reservation in Saugus. Firefighters have recently been battling brush fires in Lynn and Saugus. David L Ryan/Globe Staff

Several brush fires that recently scorched hundreds of acres on the North Shore were set intentionally, state and local fire officials announced Wednesday. 

Authorities believe that at least eight separate fires were set on May 12, May 13, and May 17 in the Lynn Woods Reservation, State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey said in a joint statement with Lynn Fire Chief Daniel Sullivan and Department of Conservation & Recreation Chief Fire Warden Dave Celino.

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The fires have resulted in limited public access to parts of Lynn Woods, and the city’s firefighters teamed up with DCR and Massachusetts State Police to use helicopters to drop water on the blaze from above. 


“Any fire can present a hazard, but we saw rapid fire growth threatening numerous homes in our community as a result of these fires,” Sullivan said in the joint release. “Firefighters from Lynn and our mutual aid partners worked extraordinarily hard to bring them under control, and we’re extremely fortunate that we had no serious injuries or property damage.”

About 40% of homes in Massachusetts are in or near wildland areas, Ostroskey added.

High winds, low humidity, and dry fuel leave Massachusetts prone to potentially devastating blazes, Celino said. 

“Outdoor fires will burn rapidly, spread quickly, and produce dangerous fire behavior under these conditions,” he said. “That puts an enormous strain on firefighters, their departments, and the communities they serve.”

Fire officials are asking anyone with information on the Lynn Woods fires to call the state police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit at 978-567-3310, or the Arson Watch Reward Program at 1-800-682-9225. The latter offers rewards of up to $5,000.

“Setting a fire in this environment is a particularly dangerous act, especially under the current weather conditions,” Ostroskey said in the release. “If you have any information that can help investigators, please share it today.”


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