Two plots of land, about an acre in size each, were set on fire on purpose Monday at the Bradley forest. It was used as both a training exercise and for research, to better prepare the state for forest fires.
"It gives us an opportunity to train some of our local firefighters and also test out some new equipment that we got," said Maine Forest Ranger Ben Goodwin. "So it works for both parties involved. "
The U.S Forest Service and U Maine used the controlled burn for sustainability research.
"It's an excellent collaboration at the state, the federal, and the local scale and we're so proud to have this," said Dr. Bethany Munoz Delgado with the U.S. Forest Service.
The rangers used the controlled burn to test out new vehicles, and train different hose and pump techniques. But the burned plots will be looked at in the long-term, with researchers studying what happens when the forest grows back.
"We're looking at Maine in the future," said Dr. Delgado. "We're not sure what the climate is going to look like. We just want to be prepared."
The U.S. Forest Service was studying fuel loads, which refer to the amount of flammable material. Fuel loads affect how quickly a fire spreads and how intensely it burns. The research will look at three different ways to reduce fuel loads.
In a state where lumber has shaped so much, the experts are using the plots of land in Bradley to protect and better understand the rest of Maine's forests.
The rangers said they'll be monitoring the land overnight and into Tuesday to make sure the controlled burn doesn't spark again.
"We don't want it to go anywhere else," said Goodwin. "We want it to stay in this special spot, but we've got a great group of guys here to handle that."