Firefighters battling brush fire and angry rattlesnakes - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Firefighters battling brush fire and angry rattlesnakes

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Rattlesnakes are causing issues for firefighters fighting brush fires in Kent. (Kent Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. Facebook) Rattlesnakes are causing issues for firefighters fighting brush fires in Kent. (Kent Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. Facebook)
Kent, CT (AP) -

Firefighters battling a brush fire near the Appalachian Trail in western Connecticut have been dealing with another threat this week - rattlesnakes.

The blaze has burned about 200 acres near Kent since Wednesday, with 17 departments helping to keep it contained.

Kent Volunteer Fire Chief Alan Gawel says the fire disturbed the dens of the Timber rattlers, and well over a dozen snakes have been spotted fleeing the heat, including one that slithered between the legs of a firefighter.

"You can see them rattling away just like you would see on the discovery channel," Gawel said. 

No one has been bitten, but authorities have alerted local hospitals to make sure they have a supply of anti-venom.

The brush fire started along the Appalachain Trail on Schaghticoke Mountain on Wednesday morning.  Connecticut firefighters were assisted by New York firefighters.

"Three big factors in fighting this fire," Gawel said. "One being the heat that we are experiencing in the 90's, second being the remote access as far as on top of a mountain with extreme ledges which lead to the third difficulty which this is a den and homes to rattlesnakes a significant amount of them here in Kent Connecticut and the area."

The Kent Fire Department posted these photos and video of the timber rattlesnakes they encountered on Facebook.

Hikers were told to go around the area and beware.

"I just heard about that from a local walking their dog," Leithan Clews, who is a hiker from Maine, said. "They said watch out for the rattlesnakes coming down off the mountain." 

Dennis Schain, a spokesman for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, says once the fire is out, wildlife experts will go in looking to rescue any injured snakes.

Timber rattlesnakes are known to live in rugged terrain with steep ledges and are found in about 10 central and western Connecticut communities. Copperheads are the other known poisonous snake in the state.

The nearest hospitals to Kent with an anti-venom are in Sharon and New Milford.

"I've been here at New Milford Hospital for twenty years and never seen anyone bitten by a poisonous snake,” Dr. Thomas Klobatian, who is a physician at New Milford Hospital, said.

For the most part, snakes will leave you alone if you leave them alone, but if you are bitten.

“The main goal is to get to medical treatment and while you’re doing that to immobilize the area that has been bitten,” Klobatian said.

Four firefighters have been injured while fighting the fire, but it was either heat related or back injuries.  No snake bites.

Thursday night's rain helped contain the fire and firefighters said it was under control Friday afternoon.

Gawel said they've seen a noticeable difference in response times due to budget cuts in the state, but said some state representatives came out to see the fire themselves.

For the latest on the fire, click here

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.