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Maine Forest Service urges caution with all outdoor fires

April 20, 2016
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AUGUSTA - The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Maine Forest Service is requesting people be extremely careful with any outdoor fires. To date, there have been nearly 80 Maine wildfires that have burned a total of 120 acres and threatened several homes. Most of these fires are caused by people being careless while burning outdoors. Either the fire gets away from them, or they fail to fully extinguish the fire and it rekindles the next day.

Environmental conditions for the next several days are not favorable for safe outdoor burning. Warm afternoon temperatures, low relative humidity and gusty, dry winds encourage the spread of wildfire. Combined with dry, dead grass and fallen branches from last year, it will not take much for a small fire to get out of control.

The Maine Forest Service advises people to check with their local fire department before burning their brush piles or having a campfire. Burn permits are required for burning brush and in some municipalities, campfire permits are also required. For those who want to burn in the unorganized townships, please contact the Regional Headquarters for the Maine Forest Service (in Augusta, 624-3700; in Old Town 827-1800; in Ashland 435-7963) Mondaythrough Friday,8 a.m. 4 p.m.

The Maine Forest Service has two online resources available for those interested in having an outdoor fire. The wildfire danger report is issued each morning and is a good way to determine whether it's safe to have an outdoor fire. Please visitmaine.gov/dacf/mfs/wildfire_danger_report/index.htmland sign up to receive the predicted class day via email or text message.

The online burn permit system (www.maineburnpermit.com) is also available. It is a convenient way to obtain a burn permit and a portion of the proceeds goes to the municipality/fire department where the burn occurs.

For more information, please contact Fire Prevention Specialist Kent Nelson at 287-4989.

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