A few firemen gather by the trucks at Thursdays fire on the Richardson Hollow Road in Greenwood. Bethel Citizen photo by Samuel Wheeler

GREENWOOD — Crews from nine departments spent Thursday battling a 1.5 acre woods fire on the Richardson Hollow Road in Greenwood.

The cause of the fire has not been determined yet, but Greenwood Fire Chief Ken Cole said that power lines did come down in the area of the fire and that it could have played a factor in starting it. The lines were reportedly pulled down by a log truck, but Cole said he could not “confirm or deny” that report.

A a total of 60 department members were at the fire.

Members powered through the steep terrain and hot temperatures to get at the fire and eventually contain it.

Many departments across the county spent their Memorial Day weekends bouncing from one brush fire to the next.

Other locals fires were reported at Concord Pond, West Paris, Woodstock and Greenwood again.

Two of the fires occurred simultaneously.

When Greenwood was assisting Woodstock with a fire it received a call about an out of control burn on the Greenwood road. Bethel had some crew available and trucks from West Paris and Woodstock also showed up to help Greenwood.

The resident responsible for the fire had obtained a permit online the same day, but had gotten it much earlier in the morning, before deciding to start it in the evening.

No fine was issued, but the individual’s permit was revoked.

Cole said obtaining permits online is not always the best route to take, especially considering Maine’s unpredictable weather.  A forecast that determines whether or not someone can acquire a burning permit is based on a morning weather forecast out of Augusta, according to Cole. He said anyone interested in having a fire should contact their local fire chief or warden to inquire about weather conditions for the day.

“The local officials are the best source,” Cole said.

“The risk is very high because of the current weather conditions and the dryness of the forest floor,” Cole added.

Other ways people can learn about fire danger is to tune into certain radio or television stations.

The recent heat wave will mean a continued risk of brush fires. Ideally, three consistent days of rainfall would benefit the woods greatly, Cole said.

“People need to understand that this is financially taxing their municipalities,” Cole said. “These calls require manpower, equipment, fuel, and food and water.”

Wardens have told Cole that so far this year calls for brush fires have doubled compared to last year. Cole wonders if the spike in calls is related to more people staying at home due to COVID-19.

Cole explained that many of the towns have mutual aid, and that when Greenwood responded to West Paris last week, they did not charge West Paris for assisting them, they absorbed the cost. Cole said that when towns aid each other, they do not charge them when they respond to help.

He said many members’ Memorial Day weekends were disrupted by all the calls.

“We all need a break,” Cole said. “The volunteers sacrifice a lot of their time.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A fire truck gets more water from Hicks Pond in Greenwood City. Bethel Citizen photo by Samuel Wheeler


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