HAMPTON FALLS — Firefighters battled a two-alarm brush fire fueled by gusty winds at Applecrest Farm Orchards Thursday morning.
The fire broke out just after 10:30 a.m. at the well-known orchard at 133 Exeter Road.
Fire Chief Jay Lord said his biggest concern when he arrived on the scene was the threat of the flames spreading to the housing units used by migrant workers.
The fire was located about 200 feet away from the housing area, Lord said.
Lord said he's not sure how the fire started. The orchard has a commercial permit for burning, but he said he doesn't believe any burning was being done at the time.
"They may have burned a few days ago and the embers from that, because it's very windy and very dry, just got up and took off. We had a fire the other night (in town) that was the same thing. Somebody had a fire previous days and it was never fully extinguished," he said.
The brush fire spread to what Lord described as a "junk pile" of wood pallets, crates, and other debris that was not intended to be burned.
Lord estimated the area burned to be about 150 feet by about 50 feet.
"The big takeaway message is it's fall, it's dry, and until we get either a major tropical storm or some serious snow we're in this very dangerous fire season," Lord said.
The fire partially burned some trees in a wooded area but the flames spared the apple trees.
Lord said firefighters planned to spend the afternoon digging up the area that burned and spraying water and foam to keep it from rekindling.
"The foam is like a coating so that it won't reignite. By the time we're done with this it will be this big white blanket over the whole thing," he said.
Mutual aid from several nearby towns assisted Hampton Falls firefighters with the fire and station backup.