FRANKLIN, Maine — A fire Tuesday evening that burned about a third of an acre of wetlands off Georges Pond Road is believed to have been caused by human recklessness, according to a state forest ranger.
The fire was reported at about 5 p.m., according to Ranger Paul Perry. Perry said Wednesday that investigators believe it was started by people setting off incendiary devices for fun in a gravel pit about one-quarter to a half-mile away from where the marsh caught fire.
“Some individuals — we don’t exactly know who — were playing with night flares and shooting them off,” Perry said. “They landed in a bog, and they lit three separate fires in the bog.”
Perry said the people who reported the fire and responders initially thought the fire may have been bigger than it turned out to be.
“A third of an acre puts up a pretty good glow,” Perry said.
The main challenge in fighting the flames was getting people and gear down into the bog where the flames were, according to Perry. He said firefighters had to walk about a mile into the woods off Georges Pond Road to get to the flames. Walking into the bog at night, after it had gotten dark, also posed some safety concerns, Perry said, but no one was injured.
About a dozen firefighters from Franklin, Eastbrook and Hancock went to fight the fire, he said. By 7:30 p.m., the flames had been extinguished and firefighters had gathered up their gear and left the scene, he said.
“There could be charges resulting from this, of course,” the ranger said.