Riverside Park News

Raymond's Riverside Park Scarred by Fire
By Cheryl Killam 5-29-15

Raymond’s Riverside Park on the Lamprey River has been scarred by fire.

Around 12 pm on Sunday, May 24, 2015, a report was called into the Raymond Fire department from someone who smelled smoke blowing towards the downtown area on a day that no one should have been burning.  

Pratt said they spent about 4 hours looking for it and it was determined that  the smoke was coming from Riverside Park. They worked till 8 pm fighting the fire and returned again on Monday from 7 am to 12 noon.


Looking up the path to the top of the ledges

Fire Chief Kevin Pratt said, “The fire may have been smokers that went off trail and were in the area of the ledges.  A lot of cigarette butts, tonic and beer cans annd lawn chairs were found. The humidity is so low and the rainfall so little that a butt that would have gone out in other years now would smolder and cause a fire and spread very fast.“

More of the path to the top of the ledges

 The fire hoses were dragged down the trail and the woods water tanker truck was driven down  the trail  to the burning forest to douse the flames. 

Assistant Fire Chief Paul Hammond said besides Raymond, 6 towns responded including  Epping, Fremont, Chester, Candia, Brentwood and  Deerfield.


The fire was at the end of the Neil Welch Rotary Trail marked in green.


All ground vegetation is gone.


Five days later, the smell of charred wood fills the air as you walk a few hundred feet  down the Neil Welch Memorial Trail towards the overlook ledge.

 The area burnt is on the southeast side of the Neil Welch trail,  the highest points where the over-look ledge is and down the banks to the edge of the river’s inlet pond.

Hammond said the forest ranger estimated about 5 acres were burnt.
Besides the loss of trees, at this time of year many birds are still nesting.  The flames may not have gotten high enough to burn any nests however the baby birds could die from smoke inhalation.  


One of the few remaining Cedar trees in Riverside Park badly burnt.


One of the few remaining Cedar Trees on the property has burns up the trunk and the lowest branches at 15 feet up are all charred.  


Looking over the ledges down to the river inlet.


Looking over the ledge towards the multi-purpose field.


Oak and maple tree trunk bark badly burnt.


More tree trunks badly burnt.



Even the rock walls that had moss growing on them are burnt.



Thousands of pine trees are gone.




Tall pine trees dying at the top of the ledges looking from the field.


The fire has already taken its toll on the pine tree tops up on the overlook ledges. 30 to 40 foot tall pine trees that can be seen  from the multi-purpose activity field are turning brown from the burns.   


The Memorial Gardens were not damaged as can be seen by the photos below.




The Raymond Fire Department also responded to a fire on Friday, May 29, at the island on Onway Lake.

With the lack of rain the risk of fire is exceptionally high in New Hampshire.

All photos taken by Cheryl Killam
























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