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Brush Fires on Side of I-93 Quelled

Wind, dryness attributed to fires, officials said.

Three brush fires in Middlesex Fells along I-93 North in Medford and Stoneham were put out Monday afternoon, but not before they snarled Boston rush hour traffic.

Two Medford Fire Department engine companies, one Stoneham company and a trained crew from the Department of Conservation and Recreation worked the three areas, all on the eastern side of I-93 between the highway and Spot Pond, Deputy Fire Chief Patrick Ripley said. Crews were called to the scene about 3 p.m. and it was cleared by 5:30 p.m., Ripley said.

Smoke wafted from the fires onto I-93 Monday afternoon impacting visibility, but motorists were never endangered, Ripley said.

"Things were under control all along," he said. "When you have smoke obscuring a roadway you want to get it cleared up as quickly as possible."

Two of the areas were accessed from the breakdown lane on the side of I-93 between exits 33 and 34, but a fire aparatus-equipped four wheel drive vehicle had to be used to access one area further south, Ripley said.

Dryness and wind factored into the fires, Ripley said. Fire officials will keep an eye on the area the evening if conditions continue to be dry and breezy.

"When you get a wind it can kind of dry things out fast," Ripley said.

Brush fires were also reported in Wilmington and Woburn Monday.

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