WOODSTOCK, New Hampshire (CBS) — Investigators and fire officials in New Hampshire are looking into the possibility that a meteor may have started a brush fire that has currently burned through about 25 acres in the White Mountains.

Crews were working to contain the fire in the Lost River Gorge area Wednesday, and said that it was still spreading. A driver first called it in around 6:20 a.m. Tuesday.

woodstock 9 Did A Meteor Cause A Brush Fire In New Hampshire?

The brush fire has burned about 25 acres. (WBZ-TV)

Though the cause is still under investigation, Woodstock Fire Chief John Mackay told WBZ-TV a man walking through the area Wednesday told them he saw something–possibly a meteor–hit the side of the mountain while he was driving by the night before.

“He swears that something come out of the sky and hit the side of the mountain where the fire is,” Chief Mackay said. “We can’t confirm it or deny it, we just took his word. We don’t know if that is the cause.”

woodstock 2 Did A Meteor Cause A Brush Fire In New Hampshire?

The blaze near Lost River Gorge seen overnight. (Photo courtesy Jack Varin/Real World New Hampshire)

Mackay said it had been about 12 or 15 years since the last mountain forest fire in the area, and fighting fires of this type were very difficult.

“The terrain is unbelievable, and we’re in a lot of pine and spruce that ignites quickly, and goes all the way up the tree,” he said. “It’s just tough going with the rocky material and rockslides, trees coming down. The elevation is just hard on the guys.”

He said two helicopters had joined in the fight, as well as a National Guard aircraft that was capable of dumping 600 gallons of water.

woodstock 5 Did A Meteor Cause A Brush Fire In New Hampshire?

A helicopter assisted fire crews Wednesday. (WBZ-TV)

The fires closed nearby Lost River Gorge on Tuesday, but they were open again Wednesday morning.

“It’s close to Lost River Gorge, but we have lines stretched out and pumps just in case it wants to come this way, but right now it’s no big threat to that building,” Mackay said.

The nature preserve posted on their Facebook page to thank local firefighters.

Chief Mackay said he’s not even sure they could actually determine if a meteor was the cause.

“I don’t know if I would know the difference or not, I don’t know what a meteor looks like, I’ve never seen one,” he said. “Maybe if we found a point of impact we could, but right now we cannot say that it was a meteor.”

Possible meteor strike aside, the chief expects the fire to be contained by Thursday.

Comments (9)
  1. Rush Elkins says:

    Not very likely. The atmosphere slows meteors up to many kilograms to terminal speed very rapidly, burning off a very thin layer of material in the process. By the time it hits the ground, such a meteorite is quite cold, and probably has collected a layer of frost as it passed through the troposphere. This is attested by the few people who have found meteorites shortly after their fall, and by the fact that meteorites found in Antarctica lie atop the ice wit his no sign of melted ice around them. Probably, the gentleman observed a lightning strike.

  2. Jack Cooper says:

    You sure the towns name isn’t Grover Mill? I think they should call the three greatest Scientific minds we have Dr. Clayton Forrester, Dr. Pryor and Dr. Bilderbeck.

  3. Gene Vallee says:

    Rush, thank you for your comment, it does make sense in what you described.

  4. Gary Morel says:

    Yes and the recent one that hit in RUSSIA came down very cool as well. LOL

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