It was after midnight last Tuesday, November 15, when I saw the fire truck's going past my house on Valley Falls Road. Listened but couldn't tell where they were headed. Later in the day we learned there was a fire along the Rail Trail above Valley Falls Park.
Fire crews from four towns responded and fought the fire until 6 a.m. and monitored pockets for another four hours. There was fire above, below and on the cliff face making access a challenge, particularly at night.
Above the cliffs is the Northern Connecticut Land Trust's Webster- Knapp property. Property steward Karl Hasel led a hike there in October. The cliffs are the main attraction, but the rock ledges and vernal pools beyond them make the landscape a delight to walk.
Karl visited the property after the fire and reported insignificant damage. No trees had major damage - mostly leaves, underbrush and some blackened Mountain Laurel. The hiking trails at the top seemed to contain the fire to the overlook area and where it did hop the trail it was quickly contained by the firefighters.
Along the Hop River Rail Trail fire was only on the West (Cliff) side and didn't get down into Valley Falls Park. We were very fortunate there wasn't a strong wind and the firefighters were there quickly and did a great job.
Vernon Greenways Volunteer Gerri Phelps monitors part of the Rail Trail and visited the site after the fire. She filled several garbage bags with the bottles, cans and trash that tumbled down the cliff face as a result of the fire and water. I'll never understand how people can one minute be enjoying the beautiful view and the next choosing to deface it with their trash. Are we really wired that way?
I visited Thursday and took a few pictures. Click on them for a larger size.