SKINNER TOWNSHIP — Franklin County firefighters, state forest rangers and loggers battled a woods fire Wednesday that was sparked by a tree harvester hitting a rock on Haynestown Road, Eustis Fire Chief Sprague Wise said Thursday.

Flames burn woods along steep terrain in Skinner Township in northern Franklin County on Wednesday. The fire was sparked by a tree harvester hitting a rock, Eustis Fire Chief Sprague Wise said. Eustis Fire Department photo

The fire along steep terrain in this northern Franklin County township was reported at 6:13 a.m. Fueled by a steady wind and super dry conditions, it burned about an acre of woods, including a lot of softwood, the chief said.

Eustis Fire Department and a state forest ranger arrived in about two hours after gathering equipment. Loggers built a line around the blaze to try to prevent it from spreading, Wise said.

A call for all available firefighters from Franklin County went out later in the morning, bringing crews from Carrabassett Valley, Kingfield, Phillips, Strong and Rangeley departments.

Wise, a former forest ranger, had Franklin County dispatchers notify the Maine Forest Service and received permission to use a Forest Service engine and equipment. A second forest ranger also responded.

The logging crew shuttled equipment to the fire line with a skidder and worked the fire line. They were a tremendous help, Wise said.

Firefighters and forest rangers set up equipment and laid 1,600 feet of hose to the base of the fire and used another 800 feet to flank it and douse it, Wise said.

Flames fanned by a steady wind and super dry conditions burn trees in Skinner Township in northern Franklin County on Wednesday. It took crews about 10 hours to extinguish the flames along the steep terrain. Eustis Fire Department photo

Hand tools, handlines, a chain saw and other equipment were used, in addition to water supplied by two forest service fire engines and a forest service helicopter that dropped multiple buckets of water.

A forester from the land owner, Weyerhaeuser, also pitched in.

Fire crews and rangers worked about 10 hours and some returned Thursday to put out hot spots.

Haynestown Road is 14 miles up Goldbrook Road in Chain of Ponds Township. The fire was about 1½ miles down Haynestown Road in Skinner Township. There was no cellphone service or communication with dispatch in that area.

Flames burn about an acre of woods in Skinner Township in northern Franklin County on Wednesday. It took firefighters, state forest rangers and logging crews about 10 hours to extinguish it. Eustis Fire Department photo

 


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