February 24, 2020
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Fires keep Burnham, Detroit firefighters hopping

Two woods fires reported less than 30 minutes apart in northern Waldo and southeastern Somerset counties kept firefighters busy Friday afternoon.

The first reportedly was started by train sparks on the railroad tracks of the Maine Central Springfield Terminal line in Burnham. Crews from Pittsfield were called to assist at the scene that left about 5 acres of woods burned before it was extinguished, according to Detroit Fire Chief Don Chute. The fire forced the train to stop temporarily between Clinton and Burnham,

Chute and his crew were standing by at the Pittsfield Fire Department when he got a call about 1:30 p.m. from a Forestry Service helicopter pilot dropping water near the railroad tracks. The pilot said that a section of woods on the Troy Road in Detroit was on fire.

That fire burned about 6 acres of a woodlot and field owned by Jim McGinnis that is located just north of the village, the Detroit fire chief said Friday night.

Firefighters from Newport and Plymouth assisted in getting that fire under control in about an hour and 45 minutes, Chute said. A Forestry Service helicopter also made at least eight water drops and helped get it under control, according to the Detroit fire chief.

The cause of the Burnham fire has not been determined, Chute said.

The Maine Forest Service issued Friday morning a red flag warning for much of the state due to dry conditions and high winds.

Chute said that people should not be burning anything without a permit from their local fire departments.

“People need to really pay attention to the conditions and ask the proper authorities before they think about lighting anything,” he said Friday night.

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