North Windham Elementary School is closed Thursday and school will be virtual because of the air quality after a brush fire in the Natchaug State Forest in Windham.
A statement on the school’s website says the air quality inside the building is not conducive to learning and the school was going to try to offer all students virtual learning today, but teachers did not know they were going to be doing this today from their homes.
The North Windham Fire Department posted that the fire in the wooded area that goes between Route 203 and Harbor Freight is contained.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said the fire is contained. They estimate 70 acres have burned and said the spread is slow, but it's expected to grow. They expect the fire to burn about 100 acres as they create controlled burns and borders to contain it fully.
DEEP and the North Windham, Windham Center, and South Windham fire departments are focused on a perimeter control line today. The fire was called in Wednesday afternoon. Officials believe it was started by a camp fire that spread undetected, possibly for several days before it was noticed.
DEEP said heavy smoke prompted local emergency management services to issue an emergency call alerting residents of the source of acrid smoke and no structures are currently threatened.
“The greatest risk to the public is just smoke conditions," Rich Schenk, the fire control officer for DEEP. "It is going to be a smoke condition, not a terrible condition, but you are going to smell smoke until we get rain or snow and that could be months.”
They added that there is no need to call 911 unless you see flames. If you have immediate concerns that are non-life threatening, DEEP urges you to call the North Windham Fire Department’s routine dispatch line at 860-465-3128.