Poles Hill

A firefighter works to extinguish a brush fire on Poles Hill on Monday morning.

State and local firefighters are combatting a large brush fire on Poles Hill on Gloucester's Wheeler Point.

At 12:30 p.m. Monday, vehicles from the Gloucester Fire Department, state Department of Conservation and Recreation's Forest Fire Unit, Gloucester Ambulance and Beauport Ambulance Services lined the length of Wheeler Street up to Riverview Road. Firefighters were rushing to install a network of fire hose extensions through homes' backyards up to the popular nature reserve. 

"It's not a simple thing," fire Chief Eric Smith said about fighting the flames. "The hill is steep and the brush runs all the way to to the top of it."

Smith estimated the size of the fire at about 5 acres. 

"It's running through the dry brush right now," he said. "We've had numerous issues with campfires and parties in the area. There may be a couple different spots up there."

Around 12:45 p.m., word began to spread that firefighters were preparing to evacuate some homes on Wheeler Street. Steve Carvalho lives across from the street from one of the homes that could potentially be evacuated.

"It's scary stuff," Carvalho said as he watched the blaze from a neighbor's front lawn. "This is looking too close to comfort right now."

Carvalho said he first caught wind of the fire Monday around 10 a.m. 

"With all the ash flying around, I was hitting my awning with water just in case some of the embers fly over," he said. "I've been noticing the shifting winds. It's blowing south right now and it might shift south east later in the day."

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or mcronin@gloucestertimes.com.

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