HARTFORD — Firefighters are expected to return Tuesday morning to Little Pinnacle Mountain to continue battling a fire that consumed more than three acres by early Monday evening.

Norman St. Pierre, chief of the West Paris Fire Department, said Monday night that crews had to leave the area because it was too dangerous to continue in the dark, given the circumstances and terrain.

He said there were no injuries.

Hartford contracts firefighting services from neighboring towns and as many as 14 fire departments joined the battle Monday.

“I’m standing on a cliff, looking down at a 15-degree drop-off,” St. Pierre said during a cellphone call. “I’m higher than the trees.”

The “back side is like a sheer cliff,” he said.

Crews dug fire lines but flames, fanned by brisk winds, jumped them four or five times. The fire extended underground 6 to 8 inches, complicating firefighting operations, St. Pierre said.

The blaze was reported just before 1:30 p.m. By 3:30 p.m., trees and earth were burning and the wind was blowing about 15 to 20 miles per hour and changing direction, sending embers flying, he said.

A crew accompanied St. Pierre about a mile up an old tote road around 3:30 p.m., waiting for forestry trucks to lay water hoses up the mountain.

“We’re going to have to dig,” he said.

A helicopter dumped five loads of water on it, but it was not enough to slow the spread.

St. Pierre said he hoped the evening drizzle would slow its spread overnight.

Crews will regroup at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday at Routes 140 and 219, and the Maine Forest Service was expected to rejoin the effort.

St. Pierre was cautious about getting the fire out quickly.

“We could be up in there tomorrow and the next day,” he said.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: