HOULTON, Maine — A 28-year-old man has been issued a summons on charges of starting a wildfire that engulfed 236 acres of land around Island Falls.
Authorities have not released the man’s name and town of residence. He was issued the summons after an investigation into the May 21 fire by the Maine Forest Service and the Aroostook County district attorney’s office found the cause to be illegal disposal of lighted material.
The primary area affected was the slope of Robinson/May Mountain near the town of Island Falls and firefighters from four different towns together with forest service rangers worked to put out the fire. Four camps were spared.
Two helicopters carrying a combined 53,000 gallons of water helped put out the wildfire, but not before causing more than $100,000 in costs to fight it.
The Maine Forest Service has cautioned that this year seems particularly severe for forest fires, with 663 fires statewide so far as of June 22. It’s the second highest fire count in 10 years, and a 170 percent increase from 2009.
“Arid conditions and high winds combined to set the table for this dangerous wildfire,” forest service Chief Ranger Bill Hamilton said. “With continued dry weather, we need everyone to be vigilant and not engage in activities that spark wildfires.”