STATEWIDE — Wildfire season is nearing its end, and the amount of wildfires in the state has decreased compared to last year.
“The amount of fires that we had this year was a little bit above average, but the amount of acres that we burned was lower than average, and certainly a lot less than last year,” said Kent Nelson, forest ranger specialist for the Maine Forest Service.
According to Nelson, there have been 633 fires causing 376 acres to burn so far this year.
“We really started off with a busy fire season. In early March, we started getting fires, and then through April and May and June, and we had that drought in June,” Nelson said. “Then in July, we got a lot of rain, so it really put a damper on things, which is good.”
Director of the Maine Forest Service Patty Cormier said weather conditions in the state can change quickly, which could impact the likelihood of a fire.
“The trees have lost their leaves for the most part, and that can add to the fuel as they dry out,” Cormier said.
However, Cormier said 90% of wildfires in the state are human caused.
“Debris burns, equipment and campfires, so those are the top three reasons, and they’re very avoidable by everybody,” Cormier said.
Nelson said having tools nearby, such as a shovel and water source are helpful in preventing fires from spreading.
“First, you put the water on, and then you stir the coals with a hand tool and then you check it for heat with the back of your hand and then you repeat that two more times because we’ve seen many cases where people just throw water on the fire and leave and the next afternoon, it reignites and causes a forest fire,” said Nelson.
Nelson said the forest rangers will be training and working on equipment to prepare for next season during winter.
The Maine Forest Service is reminding folks they do need burn permits to burn brush, which can be obtained online.