AUBURN — Dry grass and gusting winds kept firefighters hopping Friday as woods burned along the railroad tracks off Washington Street.

At about 4 p.m., several people called 911 to report smoke and flames near the tracks near Station Road, just off Washington.

When police got there, they found a 10-foot patch of woods burning with flames up to 5 feet high, said Dan Masselli, firefighter and public information officer.

Firefighters subdued those flames with foam, making the hillside next to the railroad tracks look like winter all over again.

Crews were just getting that fire under control when another was reported farther north along the tracks. There, firefighters found grass, twigs and fallen tree limbs burning. Again, they hauled hoses and tanks to the area and brought the fire under control.

Seasoned firefighters who fought the woods fires Friday afternoon were aided by a half-dozen recruits who were still in training with the department.

The fires were likely the result of a passing train, Masselli said. Sparks sometimes fly when the brakes are applied and if conditions are dry — which they are — debris can go up quickly.

Lack of snow and almost no rain in recent weeks has resulted in high fire danger, Masselli said. No burning permits have been issued and won’t be until conditions change.


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