- Witness sees large object smash into mountain just before fire starts
- Did incoming fireball ignite massive New Hampshire wildfire?
- More than 50 acres in the White Mountains torched
On Tuesday morning, October 3, 2017, a massive wildfire broke out in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The fire, reported at 6:20 a.m. EDT, spread to more than 50 acres by evening and raged throughout the night.
Woodstock Fire Chief John Mackay said the abundance of pine and spruce, which ignite quickly, and rock slides bringing down trees, made it difficult to slow down the raging fire, which spread rapidly across the steep rocky mountain slopes.
Chief Mackay told WBZ-TV that a witness claimed to see a large object (possibly a fireball) smash into the side of the mountain just before the devastating blaze started. Chief Mackay does not believe the blaze was intentional, and he has not ruled out the possibility that a meteorite from space started the wildfire.
Chief Mackay says, “He (the witness) swears that something came out of the sky and hit the side of the mountain where the fire is burning. We can’t confirm it or deny it. We just took his word. Maybe if we found a point of impact we could, but right now we cannot say that it was a meteor.”
Investigators are probing that claim.
More than 50 firefighters tackled the inferno and a National Guard Black Hawk helicopter (capable of carrying 600 gallons of water) was deployed. The rocky terrain made fighting the fire difficult.
The fire has been burning now for more than 24 hours. Chief Mackay said the fire doubled in size Tuesday night and it was still burning in a remote area in Kinsman ridge on Wednesday morning. As part of the firefighting operation, officials delayed the opening of a busy public attraction, Lost River Gorge in Woodstock as a precaution.