TOWNSHIP 36, Maine — Maine Forest Rangers responded quickly Wednesday afternoon to a small forest fire off the Stud Mill Road near Elwell Ridge.
District Ranger Courtney Hammond said the quick response, which included an attack team and helicopter from Old Town as well as ground troops, was necessary because of the extremely dry forest conditions.
The fire, the cause of which is unknown, was reported by passers-by, Hammond said, and ended up burning just one-tenth of an acre alongside the roadway.
“The fire danger is extremely high right now,” Hammond said. “Rainfall has been significantly below normal.”
When conditions become this intense, he said, rangers “enhance our readiness. We staff a helicopter out of our Old Town headquarters with an attack crew and we step up our prevention efforts.”
Hammond, who just returned from Texas where he was assisting with wildfire containment in 100-plus degree weather, said rangers also monitor the level of moisture in the soil. That helps them determine how difficult any forest fire is going to be to fight.
Hammond said Wednesday was a Class 3 day with the fire danger at a high level, particularly in Washington and Hancock counties.