With most of the state in drought conditions, Maine recorded seven fires Friday and has topped 1,000 for the year.

The last time Maine eclipsed the 1,000-fire mark was in 2002, Forest Ranger Jeff Currier said. The state has between 500 and 600 fires in a typical year, Currier said.

None of the fires has burned more than 200 acres, Currier said. The fires reported Friday were all an acre or less and are out or under control, he said.

Since the beginning of the year, rangers have recorded 1,009 fires that have burned a total of 997 acres, he said. The leading cause has been debris burning, which is usually allowed if a permit is obtained, Currier said, and is blamed for 278 of the fires.

In addition, 148 fires have been caused by campfires that weren’t extinguished, he said, and 45 by lightning strikes. The rest were blamed on a variety of other causes, including arson, he said.

Arson is suspected in a fire Friday in Township 32MD that burned about an acre, Currier said. A fire in Franklin was blamed on illegal burning, he said, and improperly extinguished campfires were blamed for fires in Smithfield, Burlington and Old Town. The cause of a fire in Bowdoinham is still under investigation and one in Township 5, Range 7 was blamed on a weeks-old lightning strike that has been smoldering, Currier said.


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