PORTLAND (AP) – Forest rangers remained concerned about the fire danger over the weekend in southern Maine, even as flood worries largely receded to the north.

Forest rangers say they’ve already seen 120 fires this spring, double the number at this time last year. The problem is that the fast snowmelt and dry weather exposed plenty of fuel in the form of branches, twigs and leaves.

Many communities warned residents to avoid any outdoor burning, and rangers urged caution while operating machinery or discarding cigarette butts outdoors.

“We need some significant rain, which will cause the grass to green up,” said Kent Nelson, a fire prevention specialist at the Maine Forest Service. “And once it becomes green, it’s more moist, and it’s more resistant to fire.”

Art Lester of the National Weather Service in Gray said southern Maine is not expected to see significant rainfall until Monday night.

In northern Maine, meanwhile, the National Weather Service dropped its advisories for the St. John and Fish rivers at Fort Kent and the Aroostook River at Marsardis, along with the Penobscot river, said Tony Mignone from the weather office in Caribou.

As of Saturday, only the the Mattawamkeag River remained above flood stage, causing minor flooding in the town of Mattawamkeag, Mignone said.

As for the fire danger, it came at a time when many Mainers were clearing their property of debris – limbs and such – left over from the winter.

In many communities, those people were inconvenienced by local orders to avoid outdoor burning, said Augusta Battalion Fire Chief Charlie Squires.

“You’re balancing people wanting to clean up their yards and get rid of all this debris, and not allowing them to burn because of the fire danger,” he said.

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