May 25, 2018
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Maine man failed to extinguish flames that set massive wildfire, forest service says

Maine Forest Service | BDN
Maine Forest Service | BDN
Michiel Brown, 69, was issued a summons for failing to extinguish the May 2 fire that grew into a blaze that burned for nearly 24 hours, scorching 314 remote acres across three York County towns, according to the Maine Forest Service.
By Callie Ferguson, BDN Staff
Updated:

A Kennebunk man failed to properly douse a backyard fire that set a massive wildfire last week that burned more than 300 acres in York County, authorities said.

Michiel Brown, 69, was issued a summons for failing to extinguish the May 2 fire that grew into a blaze that burned for nearly 24 hours, scorching 314 remote acres across Kennebunk, Sanford and Wells, said George Harris, district ranger for the Maine Forest Service in Gray.

Nobody was hurt and no homes were destroyed by the fire, which forest rangers and a handful of local fire departments contained and ultimately doused by the afternoon of May 3. The fire spread through a largely remote area off Route 99, Harris said.

The service is still mapping the fire’s footprint, which encompasses a portion of land owned by the Nature Conservancy and a local water district, Harris said.

Brown, who is scheduled to appear in York County District Court in August, had a permit to burn brush on his private land in Kennebunk, but “at some point, he decided to leave, he did not fully extinguish the brush pile,” Harris said.

Weather conditions that day — hot, dry and windy — were conducive to the spreading fire, he said, adding that wind likely blew live embers into the nearby dry grass and leaves.

If convicted, Brown faces up to a $500 fine and could owe up to $25,000 in restitution, Harris said.

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