Officials Leave Brush Fire to Burn Out

North Haven's Borelli Farm owners will bring in excavators to dismantle pile.

Several area fire departments–including , and –were dispatched to a on April 10. Though the fire is still burning, the fire departments have left the scene.

"We're still monitoring the situation and the pile has not changed," said North Branford . "It's still burning significantly, but right now, the property owner has been told to get excavators and operators and tear the pile apart."

Once the excavators come in to take apart the pile–which is made up of storm damage debris like stumps, leaves, branches, etc.–the fire department will return to extinguish any other threats. 

North Branford supplied water from a nearby pond to the North Haven engine, which pumped it onto the pile. About 25 North Branford volunteer firefighters were on the scene.

Seward said, because the brush pile is made up of only organic materials, the smoke is more of a nuisance than a hazard. A DEEP representative also assessed the scene.

"If someone has a preexisting respiratory problem, it [the smoke] could affect them," said . "If people choose to use a clothesline or have open windows, they will also be affected by the smell of smoke."

The towns responded to the fire as part of the written mutual aid agreements with surrounding towns. The departments that responded have drilled together in the past.

"It goes without saying that no matter where the incident is, we always depend on each other without hesitiation," said Seward. "Something like this really demonstrates the cooperation between departments. The training we've done becomes invaluable in a situation like this because the implentation has to be very smooth." 

jimbo April 16, 2012 at 12:14 PM
I guess these fire depts are just tooooooooooo busy to put this fire out completely. They feel it is better to let it burn into the air we breath then to put it out. I hope the Borellis are paying big fines for this and paying these firemen for all their hard work...LOL
Jenn McCulloch April 16, 2012 at 05:27 PM
I'm not sure about the costs, but until the excavators came to take the pile apart, there was nothing else the fire departments could do.
John O'Brien April 16, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Over 1 million gallons of water has been used to control this 1 acre size pile that is 50 feet high. The water has to be pumped from a nearby pond or trucked in. As of last Friday, state Department of Environment and Energy Protection has not allowed any more water to be used; they cite water run off issues.
Filo Sarowski April 17, 2012 at 12:33 PM
isn't that town debris from the storms last year? Then it gets shuffled off to private property and then local govts do not have to deal with it anymore...is that how it works? I think someone wanted it to burn....
LORI VOGT April 17, 2012 at 11:25 PM
I was walking my dogs late Sunday night, smelling smoke so badly that I was sure there was a house on fire nearby. I roamed the neighborhood checking everyone's property, just in case there was an emergency! It never occured to me that the fire in North Haven would send smoke to the top of Sea Hill until my facebook friends nearby made comments the next day. Health and environment take another hit.
Morris Pedersen April 19, 2012 at 04:57 PM
There's expenses that go along with having a compost pile and Mike Freda fails to see what those expenses are to the Town? All he must do is take a look at what expenses represent maintenance of a compost pile as this one. The pile must be turned and what happens when there's a high potential for fire risk, calling in firefighters, like in this case? It must me monitored closely and managed by Town Personell? This takes Town employees from normal duties, so do we hire more help? Everyone must get paid. Maintenance and fueling of equipment must be considered as well, so where's the PROFIT? I feel it may work well for a property owner, with time to spare, but not as a business venture as Mike Freda thinks it's for him to grab credit from. Mike Freda wants to profit from the Town's Compost Pile? Is he crazy? Why would anyone buy something that is FREE such as a pile of leaves?
Morris Pedersen April 19, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Freda's Town compost Piles will earn a PROFIT? It doesn't come without work and money being put into maintaining it, so where is the PROFIT from BROWN GOLD as the article in a local paper explained where the PROFIT would come from? Consider the EXPENSES for the Town. I think it's a dumb idea to even consider it. I don't buy it. It makes much more sense to encourage homeowners to process the compost on their own properties as a Town resident effort. This community effort in turn minimizes the need for leaf pick-up, thus reducing Town expenses saving the town money. It's a FREE natural organic fertilizer for our properties, so why would a rational thinking person want to create more work for themselves when nature does the work? Instead, the residents create more work for themselves, as more work is involved disposing of them for the Town to pick-up? The Town only thinks there is a PROFIT to be made, as they feel leaf pick-up is something they must do anyway as a resident need, when it's not. If we want to keep taxes down this is a NO BRAINER way of fighting against paying higher taxes in the future. Encourage people to do their own composting and take that expense away from the Town, reducing operation costs. It cost us about $300,000 last year to remove leaves. We can reduce that cost dramatically by composting leaves ourselves!
Morris Pedersen April 19, 2012 at 05:53 PM
COMPOST PILES: It only pays for a homeowner to do it, in my opinion - not the Town, unless they use it themselves on Town property. I suggested this idea for homeowners to do it to Mike Freda and PW head employees (Vic Palma, Lynn Sadosky) about 2-1/2 years ago and they disagreed with me? They shot my idea down, but decided to use it now - for themselves to PROFIT from? My idea didn't repesent earning a profit, but saving the taxpayers money, instead - lots of it. The savings far outweigh any so-called profit coming from it. I explained the importance of homeowners doing it. Now they want to do it themselves. This is what gave them the idea, now, for the Town to do it, instead, of the homeowners? I consider this was another idea they stole from me and I want to set the record straight here on the North Haven Patch, reclaiming it as MY IDEA - not theirs. Yeah, Freda is thinking GREEN alright - money, but he forgets about expenses the Town has doing it. What's the operation costs including the Fall leaf pick-up program taxpayers pay for? It just sounds like a "Pipe Dream" business venture coming from a SMALL BUSINESSMAN that Mike Freda is. Only his dreams are big - too big for our town or even coming from a business perspective to earn a profit. Freda doesn't act like a businessman, in my opinion. Brown Gold is only worth something to Mike Freda for him to grab credit from, as I don't see how it can earn a profit with expenses representing operation costs attached to it.
Duke April 19, 2012 at 06:58 PM
My daughter has asthma and her child has allergies, their truck and car were covered with ash and they had to close up their house on one of the hottest days....Depending on which way the wind blows, they are still in the smoke and have to adjust their house accordingly....WHY was this mess allowed in the first place? Even I know that internal combustion can start in a heap of debree like that!
North Havener April 20, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Polution is a big concern with the fire still burning. Those living in the area especially suffer the most from breathing in this air. We are in allergy season as well and that only adds to the misery with those belonging in the "Sensitive Group". During the October snowstorm, many lost power and burned wood to keep warm. On the news at that time, polution reached alarming levels from these fires burning in people's homes, but evidently a 70ft high pile of leaves isn't reason to be concerned for our health? There's 3 Towns involved in this effort of controlling the fire, yet no more water can be added. They claim the fire must burn itself out, yet people continue to suffer from breathing in this toxic air? Town residents share the same concerns about polution effecting our health, but what is Town Leadership doing about it? Just letting it burn itself out, is not the answer as it can burn for a very long time even as a smolding fire.
North Havener April 20, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Here we have had nice weather where many enjoy being outside, but smoke conditions in that area are unbearable, driving people inside. People can't enjoy being outdoors. I look at it like; it's the Towns Compost Pile meant to create misery for those living in Town. If it means digging a pit and pushing soil over the top of it let's get the job done. No more water can be put onto the fire, so what other choice is there? At least the compost gets worked into the soil where it would eventually end up anyway. It can continue composting below the surface. We will not forget the Borrelli Farm playing a major roll in Town Politics on this matter. Evidently, it's just being allowed to burn itself out, making breathing difficult for everyone in neighboring Towns, as well. If a fire was burning on our own properties, the Town would make a big issue out of it, but since it's their pile, they refuse to do anything? That says a lot about Town Leadership not doing a good job. Neighboring Towns aren't doing their part either. Here's your compost pile burning Mike Freda and you are making people burning mad at you. When it burns we don't see it as BLACK GOLD as you describe it, in a local paper this week, Mike Freda. Your idea to profit from it is going up in smoke!
North Havener April 20, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Debris from the two major storms of last year ended up on the Borrelli Farm? What sort of ongoing agreement does Mike Freda have with the Borrelli Farm owners? This Compost Pile turned into a major issue and Town Politics is likely involved in how this fire burning for about a week, now, is being addressed. If Mike Freda claims the Town can profit from a compost pile as this one, then I'm sure the Borrelli Farm owners are in this to PROFIT from it, too.
North Havener April 20, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Speaking of Blight Property Issues Mike Freda, why did you allow debris from the 2 storms of last year to be dumped on the Borrelli Farm creating AN EYESORE? Mike Freda doesn't know what an eyesore issue is, because he played a major role in creating AN EYESORE on the Borrelli Farm several stories tall. I call it "Freda's Compost Pile" knowing when I drive by and see it, it reminds me of things he wants to grab credit from, like this. Everything Freda does is many times bigger than he is. It reminds us of all his other FAILURES and his idea for the Town to profit from it, is going up in smoke, too. Now that it's burning, Mike Freda isn't talking about this matter to the public? Maybe residents need to contact the TV media to do a story on this, so we can get some results. He needs to do some explaining why the fire is still burning.
North Havener April 20, 2012 at 10:23 PM
The Borrelli Farm owners may be subject to hefty fines from the DEP (Department of Enviromental Protection) as seen on the TV news tonight. They did not have the required permit/s required for having such an enormous pile of compost 70ft high on their property? The Town of North Haven knew how that pile got there and grew. They played a major role in putting it there. How could the Town of North Haven not know about the violation when the debris pile came from the Town? This was debris collected from the last 2 major storms of 2011. North Haven Public Works brought the material to the Borrelli Farm from what I've been told. If the Farm owners get fined, I wonder if the Town of North Haven will be fined, too? This was suppose to earn a PROFIT from the compost getting sold according to Mike Freda and instead we may be subject to a hefty fine, instead? This is a fine mess that Mike Freda got us taxpayers into. We'll give him credit for this, eventhough it's not the kind he wants.
North Havener April 21, 2012 at 05:05 PM
COMPOSTING TIP: Composting leaves is such an easy process I don't understand why more people aren't doing it. It's less work than raking and bagging them. It's nature's way of fertilizing the soil naturally as leaves fall. Whether you have a compost pile or you mulch your leaves and grass clippings as you mow, it puts nutrients back into the ground where they came from, thus enriching the soil. Removing leaves kind of defeats the purpose of fertilizing the ground as nature's intent. Grass clippings takes longer to decompose, so I am carefull not to let it build up too much on my lawn from 3-4 mowings in the spring. Even grass clippings has it's benefits. I mulch in the early spring when I fertilize my lawn and then mulch again in the fall as leaves come down. I pickup the grass clippings between spring and fall with a bagging attachment on my riding mower. I put the grass clippings along with some leaves into a compost pile that I till in and mix in with soil. This compost is ideal in gardens and topsoil for lawns.
Diane St John April 21, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Exactly! What fertilizes the woods? Man does not do it...the leaves do! The leaves feed the microorganisms we can see--like worms--and the life in the soil we cannot see--such as all the millions of microscopic microorganisms in each cup of soil. Then this life excretes the leaves (now broken down) into a form the plant and tree roots LOVE. Nature has done this forever. It's called the Soil Food Web. Where we got to the point where we bag up our leaves and grass clippings and pay a service or pay by our taxes to pick them up and throw them away, then we go to a big box store and pay for chemical fertilizer! It's a ridiculous cycle that we can all stop. Make a compost pile! It breaks down naturally-so easily! The chemical fertilizers bypass the soil-leaving it lifeless-and go directly to the plants. What happens when the plant needs more? You have to buy more since your soil has no organic material to feed the plants for you. North Havener is right-this compost is ideal in gardens and topsoil for lawns.


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