Androscoggin, Oxford counties had most fires

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Firefighters won’t soon forget Wednesday.

It was the day wind-whipped flames scorched scores of acres of wood and brush lands throughout Androscoggin and Oxford counties.

Statewide, things were nowhere as bad, said a Maine Forest Service fire control officer. Except for a few spotty fires elsewhere, most of the blazes were concentrated in a band more or less between Route 26 and Route 4.

Among communities forced to battle Wednesday’s fires were Auburn and Lewiston, Andover, Bethel, Canton, Denmark, Dixfield, Greene, Hartford, Leeds, Livermore Falls, New Gloucester, Norway, Rumford and Turner. Numerous other towns assisted.

The Norway fire was on the power line off Route 117.

Among the day’s blazes was a small woods fire in Oxford next to a home on a dirt road Wednesday afternoon.

Although it was gusty, the wind actually helped firefighters quell the fire on Pit Road off Gore Road because it didn’t fan the flames in any particular direction and, importantly, not in the direction of a large nearby field, firefighters said.

Fire Chief Fred Knightly said the fire blackened about half an acre in the woods. He wasn’t sure how it started.

In Livermore Falls, a tree across a wire sparked a woods fire that scorched about a half-acre of downed limbs and brush Wednesday afternoon on Moosehill Road, Livermore Falls Assistant Chief Jim Leclerc said.

About 40 firefighters from Livermore Falls and Jay responded to the call.

Again, the wind became a friend to firefighters.

“We were lucky the wind was blowing in our direction,” Leclerc said. “A couple of civilians, former firefighters, heard the call on the scanner and took their rakes from home and did a very nice job of knocking it down before we arrived.”

Staff writers Rebecca Goldfine and Donna Perry contributed to this report.

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