A brush (fire) with former president

A small brush fire, believed to have been started by a discarded cigar, at Farm Neck Golf Course. - Lexi Pline

A small brush fire, possibly from a cigar tossed in the grass, according to a Farm Neck Golf Course official, was extinguished near hole No. 5 Monday. The fire scorched a 10-by-10 foot area near the hole.

The fire occurred while former President Barack Obama was playing a round on another part of the course as part of his annual vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. A Times reporter and photographer spoke with members of the Secret Service, who asked that they not shoot photographs of Obama.



  1. What is the connection between the smouldering cigar brush fire and Obama? And why no photographs of Obama golfing on this day? So now the MV Times takes its orders from the Secret Service not to photograph private citizen Obama, while he is golfing in public? Not only an unconstitutional “request” but it sounds like a real compromising of ethics and integrity to comply with the surrender of those protected journalistic rights.

    • JK — it was an “ask”, not a demand. Don’t get bent out of shape. Maybe relax and play a round of golf.

    • They asked to respect the privacy of a private citizen. Now, a publicly elected official can not expect that sort of privacy— How many pictures have we seen of trump playing golf during his 146 confirmed golf outings, and 59 likely golf outings ? That’s 205 days of golf out of 929 days (22 % ) as president from a guy who relentlessly criticized Obama for playing golf ((333 rounds in 2922 days ( 11 %)) , and said he would not play golf as president.

    • years ago, I was clamming close to Chip Chop. there was a big wig party going on there, and some armed men came down and asked me to clam somewhere else– I said no– just because they are armed does not mean you have to comply with their “request”. It is unlikely that you would be shot for taking a picture of a private citizen in a public place.

  2. This is such a non story. If Pres. Obama wasn’t golfing at the time would the brush fire have been reported by the Times??

    • The reporter and photographer went out to investigate the brush fire, which we heard on the scanner. While they were there, they encountered the Secret Service.

        • It’s not a story. It’s a brief. And, yes, firefighters having to respond to a fire at a golf course to extinguish a fire is news. That it happened while the former president was playing a round is a coincidence worth noting.

  3. Oh yeah, trained and armed Secret Service agents “ask” and the citizen reporters are in a position to oppose?
    News News, it is clear from the lack of any photo that the MV Times capitulated to this “ask” and surrendered their journalistic rights.
    And you are right, a good day for a round of golf. But a bad day for “journalism”.

    • What is gained by taking a picture? Is any public service performed by taking it? A picture adds nothing and lack of a picture subtracts nothing. Really, let’s gain some perspective here.

  4. Well, Secret Service does pack pistols. So, if I’m told not to shoot photographs of Obama? I’d listen to them too. Quickly followed by dropping the camera and putting my hands up…

  5. Was the tactical team involved? It could have been an exploding cigar? Was it a Cuban, which would indicate a Russian connection. Hopefully a special investigation will be initiated so we can get to the bottom of it. At the very least the environmental damage should be assessed were any protected species impacted. This is an example of sarcasm and is meant to be humorous.

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