LINCOLN — Will they be burning down the town?
Film crews producing the Disney sequel "Hocus Pocus 2" are expected to be shooting this week at Chase Farm Park, where they have built a life-size village said to portray Salem, Massachusetts, in 1670.
This will necessitate periodic closures of Route 123 near Chase Farm throughout the week, according to Police Chief Brian Sullivan.
Does Disney plan to burn down the set of 'Hocus Pocus 2' during filming?
The state Department of Environmental Management sent air quality specialist Taylor Ryan to inspect the site Tuesday as part of the agency's review of an open burning permit the production had applied for to burn down the village, according to DEM spokesman Michael J. Healey.
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(The village includes nine wood-frame buildings, though most of them are missing one or more sides, only the sides that will show in the movie were fully constructed.)
When Ryan arrived on site, she learned, "They are not actually lighting the structure on fire. They are using 'fire beams' fueled by natural gas so it looks like the building is on fire from the camera, but nothing will be burnt down," she wrote in an email, adding that flame-retardant material will be between the beams and the structures.
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"This is better from our environmental perspective and also better for Disney, as they can do multiple takes of the scene," she wrote.
Disney will have a fire engine and a utility vehicle on-site during the shoot, coordinating with fire departments from Lincoln, Ryan wrote. Disney will also have two 500-gallon water tanks on-site in case of emergency, she wrote.
As part of its burning permit application, production company Fair Dust Productions was required to list all of the materials used to build the village that DEM thought would be burnt.
The list includes water-based polyurethane, "Rottenstone powder," "Decra Led" imitation leaded window tape, plaster, Portland cement, latex paint, cedar shakes plywood and spruce lumber.
Spokesman Healey said Wednesday that, until Ryan inspected the site, DEM expected the village would be burned to the ground.
"We didn’t know it was going to be a fake fire until [Ryan] inspected the set," he said in an email.
If Fairy Dust Productions actually burns the village down, it would be a violation of their permit, and the company could face fines, Healey said.
"Hocus Pocus 2" is a sequel to the 1993 film, which starred Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy. Disney confirmed in a December 2020 tweet that the film was being developed for Disney+.
Midler, Parker and Najimy will return for the sequel, according to the movie website IMDb.com.
Thinking about visiting the set? What you need to know about getting to and around Chase Farm this week
*Route 123, also known as Great Road, will be closed for about 5 to 10 minutes throughout the day or night to accommodate filming, Sullivan said. The closures, which could happen Monday through Friday, will not be announced ahead of time, so motorists should plan on unexpected delays.
*No parking will be allowed on Route 123 between roughly the Manchester Print Works Road entrance to Lincoln Woods State Park and the intersection of Great Road and Break Neck Hill Road.
*The park will be closed to the public.
*Police officers will patrol the area of the back entrance to the park from Hollywood Lane as well as hiking trails leading into the park from Lonsdale Elementary School and Gateway Park.