Brush Fire Burns Boston's Back Bay Fens

By WBZ NewsRadio

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A brush fire in Boston's Back Bay Fens sent plumes of black smoke above the city Thursday morning.

The blaze burned through a marshy area covered in six-foot reeds along the Muddy River.

One person was taken from the scene with what EMS is calling "advanced life support."

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy warned people to avoid the area of the Fenway Victory Gardens and Mother's Rest area.

Traffic was tied up as part of Boylston Street had to be closed while crews battled the fire.

WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe described the scene—and got drenched by a fire hose that sprayed water at a still-smoking tree.

"I could actually hear crackling, and black soot was flying into the air," she said. "The smoke was so intense it was hurting my eyes, I actually had to walk away from the area."

Afterward, soot and large black embers coated the grass and sidewalks nearby.

The smoke could be seen from across Boston.

Craig McNulty lives nearby, and went to check on his plot in the Fens' community garden. He said the flames were "Pretty intense ... you could feel the heat."

"There was smoke," he said. "It started over on the east side of the gardens and it moved all the way over this way. Our garden is right here, so we came to observe and make sure the embers didn't go into our garden."

Nathan Swain, who lives near the Fens, said there was a fire in the same area last year. He thinks the reeds are dangerous, and wishes Boston Fire would do something about them.

"Go through the reeds and make sure no one's in there and have hoses ready," he suggested. "Just burn them all down in the spring. There's more reeds over there that could easily catch fire if someone throws a cigarette. It's one of these hazards that could be taken care of if the fire department did a controlled burn."

He said homeless people are known to live in the reeds in the area, too.

WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports

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