Levant man charged after illegal burn in Hermon

Posted April 26, 2012, at 11:03 p.m.

HERMON, Maine — The Maine Forest Service summoned a Levant man Thursday morning in connection with an illegal burn on his land on New Boston Road.

Galen Adams, 72, who reportedly wanted to clear an old mobile home from his land by burning it, was charged with failure to produce a burn permit in an organized town and burning prohibited materials, Ranger Wesley Hatch of the Maine Forest Service said Thursday.

Adams is scheduled to appear at the Penobscot Judicial Center in June, Hatch said, adding that the septuagenarian could be liable for the cost of putting the fire out, including personnel costs for fire crews from Hermon, Levant and Hampden and the rental of a backhoe.

The fire was reported Thursday morning by Hermon town officials who had gone to Adams’ parcel to deliver the burn permit he had requested earlier in the week — and was going to be issued after an inspection to make sure he was in compliance with state laws, Hatch said.

“It was explained to him throughout the week that the trailer had to be torn down and the debris separated,” Hatch said. The permit, he said, included a list of materials that are not supposed to be burned, including plastic, styrofoam, metal and pressure-treated lumber.

Hermon officials told Adams they would be over to look at his burn site, Hatch said. “When they got there, it was already lit,” he said. Hermon Fire Chief Ray Pipes called for the forest service after Adams refused to put the fire out.

Hatch said Adams was not combative about the fire or the charges.

“He pretty much knew it was coming,” Hatch said. “It was pretty straightforward: ‘If you’re gonna give me a summons, give me a summons.’”

Hatch said illegal burning continues to be a problem in Maine and one that tends to ramp up in the spring. He said only brush and clean wood can be burned legally and only with a permit.

Even though the region has seen rain in the past week, recent sun and wind have dried out “fine fuel” such as leaves and grass. Fire danger remains a risk.

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