Winds whip up brush fires in Cushing, Warren and Lincolnville

By Susan Mustapich | May 08, 2018
Courtesy of: Mike Eugley, Lincolnville Fire Department Lincolnville firefighters extinguish coals and embers  after an illegal campfire burned out of control on Bald Rock Mountain May 6.

CAMDEN — Firefighters knocked down brush fires in Camden, Cushing and Warren over the weekend that were intensified by windy conditions.

May 5

Warren Fire Department responded to a permitted burn that reignited around 2 p.m. Saturday in the area of 1040 Oyster River Road. About 20 firefighters responded, according to Warren Fire Chief Greg Andrews. A permitted burn from the day before to clear a house lot rekindled and burned between 1 and 1 1/2 acres. Andrews said the owner had checked the area earlier in the day, but later on, "with wind conditions, it rekindled." He recommended paying attention and rechecking often after a planned burn. If the fire is not extinguished thoroughly, he said, it can keep burning underground for a week.

Cushing Fire Department responded to a permitted burn that got out of control around 4 p.m., according to Cushing Fire Chief Arthur Kiskila. The wind came up, and the fire got into the woods, he said.

Kiskila said as he approached the scene, he saw a lot of smoke, and the people issued the permit were panicked because the fire was heading toward a neighbor's property.

"It was hard to get at. The only way to fight it was to put on Indian tanks," he said. Each tank holds 5 gallons of water and weighs 50 pounds.

The department has 12 Indian tanks, and just about everyone who responded had a tank, Kiskila said. "They did a great job, and had the fire out in about 45 minutes," he said.

Kiskila said he likes to issue burn permits on the day of a burn, but they can also be obtained online. He would not have issued a permit May 5 because of the wind, he said. He believes the online permits are issued in Augusta. Kiskila called Scott Maddox from the Forestry Service to determine the size of the fire. He said it was about 1/2 acre.

May 6

Lincolnville Fire Department responded to a Knox County Communications Center dispatch about a grass and woods fire atop Bald Rock Mountain in Camden Hills State Park around 2 p.m. Sunday.

A hiker first saw the fire and called 911 but left the area because the hiker did not feel safe, according to Lincolnville Deputy Fire Chief Don Fullington III. Twelve firefighters were taken in utility terrain vehicles up the multi-use trail to the head of Bald Rock, within 100 feet of the blaze. Just before firefighters arrived, a second hiker saw the fire and "stomped it out," Fullington said.

Firefighters stayed atop the mountain for about two hours to ensure any remaining embers would not reignite, raking the fire out, and dousing embers and coals with water in their packs.

Fullington said it looked like "someone had a small fire in the grass and did not put it out." Firefighters found some small pieces of trash and a marshmallow, he said. He believes the fire rekindled from the embers that remained below the burned material on top.

He said campfires are not allowed up on the mountains, and are only allowed in designated areas in the state park's campground.

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Susan M Mustapich
Assistant Editor
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Susan Mustapich is assistant editor of The Camden Herald. She has lived in Knox County since 1995 and worked as a reporter at both The Camden Herald and The Courier-Gazette. She has covered the towns and schools of Camden, Rockport, Lincolnville, Hope and Appleton, as well as Knox County government and the courts.

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