A brush fire that tore through an estimated 20 acres of land on the Dedham-Boston line had died down significantly by 11 p.m. Thursday evening, a Dedham fire official said.
The fire started at about 5:50 p.m., and calls flooded into the dispatch center at the , with reports that the smoke could be seen for miles away.
The 's Squad 1, Squad 2 and Engine 5 responded to assist Dedham in the fire on Thursday, while the Walpole Fire Department covered the Westwood station.
The black smoke billowed high into the sky, leading neighbors to speculate about the fire's cause. At times the fire flared up to 15 feet into the air just 300 yards away from homes on Hastings Road, officials said.
Dedham Fire Deputy Chief Donald Beltis told Patch that the investigation into how the blaze started hasn't begun as firefighters haven't been able to approach the fire.
"We weren't going to go into the face of a fire to see it," Beltis said.
Rumors of a plane crash are unsubstantiated at this time.
The forest that borders Rte. 128 is deep, overgrown and has 2 feet of muck in spots. That combined with shifting winds and a large area caused fire officials to set up a defensive perimeter around the fire and wait for it to die down.
"Access is the biggest problem. We can see it, but we can't get to it," Dedham Fire Chief Bill Cullinane said Thursday evening.
Fire departments and officials from Norwood, Needham, Boston, Westwood, the Massachusetts Forest Fire Control all responded to Dedham.
Westwood Fire Chief William Scoble noted the inaccessibility of the area.
"It would run to an area and would just hit water," Scoble said Friday morning. "It's just really inaccessible. Between the water, the marsh, it's not safe to be out there, because of the speed the fire can travel at. It's no easy walking at all."
As nightfall approached and the wind calmed down Thursday evening, smoke dissipated and so did the fire hazard. Two crews roamed the area to keep an eye on the brush fire in case it flared again.
"It's contained by all the stuff that is burnt out," Beltis said.
Through Thursday, meteorologists said the area is nearly 8 inches of precipitation below the yearly average.
"The whole thing is because of the lack of rain and no snow this winter," Beltis said.
While there hasn't been a brush fire as large as this one in "10-15 years," according to Beltis, that area, along with Culter Park in Riverdale, is prone to brush fires, he said.
"It's been a long time since we have seen anything like that," he said.
Steve Walsh, Matt Perkins and Liz Taurasi contributed to this report.