ETNA, Maine — At least one sharp-toothed beaver chewed through a tree, causing it to fall across Route 143 near its intersection with Burke Lane, blocking the busy road entirely to traffic for 90 minutes Monday afternoon.
“A beaver had cut a white birch that was about a foot-and-a-half in diameter and about 25 feet tall,” said Etna Fire Chief Shawn Ryder. “The whole road was blocked at the corner of 143 and Burke.”
The timing couldn’t have been much worse as it occurred about a half-hour before the school day ended at the nearby Etna-Dixmont School.
“The call came in at 2:34 p.m., and we were on scene within a few minutes,” said Ryder.
A fully outfitted forestry unit — or heavy duty brush truck pickup — from the Etna Fire Department responded, along with a pickup truck and crew of three from the Maine Department of Transportation.
“They also had a chainsaw, so we cut up the tree in the road and then cut another one the same size down, because the beavers had been at that one, too, and if we hadn’t cut it, we would’ve been right back there again later today or tomorrow at the latest,” Ryder said. “We were able to get traffic going in pretty short order.”
The crew of seven took about 45 minutes to clear the road and cut the other tree down. The road was closed for approximately 90 minutes.
This isn’t the first time public crews have had to respond to beaver-related calls in the area, which is prone to flooding and downed trees.
“We have a huge problem over there because there’s a big bog there, and we’re probably out there for something once every three months or so,” Ryder said.
Ryder said he doesn’t expect any charges against the beavers to be forthcoming, and that no mug shots of the buck-toothed suspects were available.