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Monday, July 4, 2022
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MORE BRUSH FIRES PLAGUE EAST END

April 4, 2001– For the second day in a row Tuesday, firefighters on St. Croix had their hands full battling brush fires on the island’s parched east end.
The smell of smoke punctuated the air in Christiansted Tuesday afternoon as the hill above town continued to smolder from one of the three blazes that burned Monday. But before firefighters could rest, another fire broke out in the hilly Recovery Welcome-Peter’s Farm area, the same estates – along with a fire in Gallows Bay – that charred some 250 acres on Monday.
St. Croix Fire Chief Roberto Santos said the Tuesday fire, which started at about 11:30 a.m., burned approximately 40 to 50 acres. The closest flames came to a home was about 200 yards, he said. No injuries were reported.
Santos said he expected the 12 to 14 firefighters to have the blaze contained by nightfall Tuesday. The battle, however, is a tough one because of the steep terrain.
"The higher it goes, the less chance we have to extinguish it right away," Santos said. "It’s hard because it’s up on the hillside."
Santos said that because of the inaccessibility of much of the fire line, crews were monitoring its movement and then dousing flames when they could reach them.
"Most of it is going to wait until it gets to a point where we can deal with it," he said.
This week’s fires follow blazes last week that burned more than 600 acres in Estates Boetzberg, Lowry Hill and Marienhoj. No injuries or damage to buildings were reported in those incidents.
Dry weather, particularly on the island’s characteristically parched east end, over the last month has made most of St. Croix ripe for bush fires. A year ago more than a dozen brush fires burned almost 2,000 acres on St. Croix within a one week span. Although dozens of homes were threatened in those blazes, none were damaged and no injuries were reported.
Fire officials, meanwhile, said that as the dry season wears on residents should cut grass around their homes as low as possible and keep nearby trees and shrubs trimmed and pruned. And if there is a fire in the area, windows should be kept shut so embers don’t get blown into the house.
As for how the recent blazes started, Santos said fire investigators are trying to determine if there is a human element involved.
"There might be somebody out there doing these things but we can’t pin-point them," he said. "It’s difficult with this type of terrain to make any determination…"

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April 4, 2001– For the second day in a row Tuesday, firefighters on St. Croix had their hands full battling brush fires on the island’s parched east end.
The smell of smoke punctuated the air in Christiansted Tuesday afternoon as the hill above town continued to smolder from one of the three blazes that burned Monday. But before firefighters could rest, another fire broke out in the hilly Recovery Welcome-Peter’s Farm area, the same estates – along with a fire in Gallows Bay – that charred some 250 acres on Monday.
St. Croix Fire Chief Roberto Santos said the Tuesday fire, which started at about 11:30 a.m., burned approximately 40 to 50 acres. The closest flames came to a home was about 200 yards, he said. No injuries were reported.
Santos said he expected the 12 to 14 firefighters to have the blaze contained by nightfall Tuesday. The battle, however, is a tough one because of the steep terrain.
"The higher it goes, the less chance we have to extinguish it right away," Santos said. "It’s hard because it’s up on the hillside."
Santos said that because of the inaccessibility of much of the fire line, crews were monitoring its movement and then dousing flames when they could reach them.
"Most of it is going to wait until it gets to a point where we can deal with it," he said.
This week’s fires follow blazes last week that burned more than 600 acres in Estates Boetzberg, Lowry Hill and Marienhoj. No injuries or damage to buildings were reported in those incidents.
Dry weather, particularly on the island’s characteristically parched east end, over the last month has made most of St. Croix ripe for bush fires. A year ago more than a dozen brush fires burned almost 2,000 acres on St. Croix within a one week span. Although dozens of homes were threatened in those blazes, none were damaged and no injuries were reported.
Fire officials, meanwhile, said that as the dry season wears on residents should cut grass around their homes as low as possible and keep nearby trees and shrubs trimmed and pruned. And if there is a fire in the area, windows should be kept shut so embers don’t get blown into the house.
As for how the recent blazes started, Santos said fire investigators are trying to determine if there is a human element involved.
"There might be somebody out there doing these things but we can’t pin-point them," he said. "It’s difficult with this type of terrain to make any determination..."