The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Forest Protection Division urges caution and preparedness for spring wildfire season. Maine has already experienced over 40 wildfires, consuming over 100 acres, in 2023. Spring weather conditions are extremely conducive to wildfires. Ninety percent of all wildfires are caused by people, destroying natural resources and property and threatening human life.
- Wildfire safety starts with knowing and obeying local laws and regulations.
- Everyone is asked to check with their town hall, local fire service, or the Maine Forest Service before burning. Refer to maineburnpermit.com for open burning permits.
- Other critical steps to preventing wildfires include mindfulness of weather conditions, particularly wind, and using only easily controlled locations for burning.
- Allow woodstove and fireplace ashes to cool before disposing of them. Place ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from the home and any other buildings. Never empty the ashes directly into a trash can.
- Most importantly, never use flammable gas-propellants.
Maine Wildfire Common Questions:
Q: What are the leading causes of wildfires in Maine?
A: The most common cause is escaped debris burning. Other leading causes include unattended campfires, equipment malfunction, and inappropriately discarded cigarettes. Ninety perfect of all fires are caused by people, so they are preventable.
Q: Why is spring known as wildfire season in Maine?
A: Most wildfires usually occur in April and May, when land- and homeowners are cleaning up their property. Dead vegetation makes for excellent fire fuel because it lacks moisture, making them highly flammable. The highest risk for spring wildfires occurs on dry, windy days, which can spread fires quickly.
Q: How do I properly prepare for fire on or around my property or at a campsite?
A: Keep fire extinguishers, buckets, shovels, ladders, and hose lengths handy. Have reliable telephones or two-way radios, and keep the local number for reporting fires handy.
Q: Is there a proper way to extinguish a campfire?
A: Drown the fire with water, ensuring all embers, coals, and sticks are completely soaked. Use a shovel to move rocks, check for embers, and stir/mix the coals with the water. Use the back of your hand to feel if the remaining coals are still hot. If you still feel the heat, add more water and stir the coals repeatedly until no heat can be felt.
More questions? Contact Maine Forest Service Forest Ranger Specialist Kent Nelson (207) 287-4989.
Maine Wildfire Prevention Resources: