Woods fires may be result of arson

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff
Posted April 30, 2009, at 10:56 p.m.

A fire Wednesday night in eastern Hancock County is one of a handful in the region that have been determined to be suspicious in origin, according to a Maine forest ranger.

The biggest of the fires was on Tuesday night in Columbia. It consumed 85 acres of woods, Ranger Courtney Hammond said Thursday. Including other fires in Columbia and Harrington, he said, about 100 acres have been set ablaze in the past week.

“We’ve had several in the last four days that we believe have been set,” Hammond said.

“The other fires we’ve had have been relatively small. They’re still under investigation.”

Hammond said the National Weather Service issued a “red flag” warning on Wednesday because of the relatively dry and windy conditions. He said the Maine Forest Service does not have any suspects and has not been able to find any witnesses to the fires.

A fire in Township 10, near Cherryfield, was in the woods near Spring River Lake. It was reported around 7:15 p.m. Wednesday. Firefighters from Franklin responded and more than one spot in a small area seemed to have been set on fire.

“There were three separate starts. Altogether less than 1 acre burned,” Hammond said. “It’s definitely of suspicious origins.”

Another fire Wednesday in Harrington burned a small area of mostly grass and brush, he said. The fire Tuesday in Columbia drew equipment and 18 firefighters and equipment from Columbia and Harrington, as well as Forest Service personnel and helicopter. That fire was in immature forest in northern Columbia, near agricultural land, he said.

Anyone with information about the fires is asked to contact the Maine Forest Service at 888-900-3473 or at 827-1800.

btrotter@bangordailynews.net

460-6318

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/04/30/news/woods-fires-may-be-result-of-arson/ printed on December 26, 2014