FARMINGTON — A half-acre woods fire on Monday night off Wilton Road initially thought to be caused by arson was started by a transient who was trying to chase off mosquitoes, Maine Forest Ranger Specialist Kent Nelson said Thursday.

The fire got out of hand in the remote area between the Whistle Stop Trail in West Farmington and the Irving Big Stop on Wilton Road, also known as U.S. Route 2 and state Route 4.

Forest rangers, with the help of the Farmington Police Department, found the person responsible. The transient who was not identified was issued a court summons on Wednesday for a civil violation of having a fire on the land of another without permission, Nelson said.

The summons has not yet been filed in the District Court. It will go to the District Attorney’s Office first. Without a name, which Nelson declined to reveal, it is difficult to know who the transient is. The person’s court date in a Franklin County court will be in August.

“We think it is important that (the community) know there is not a wildfire arsonist, as far as we know,” Nelson said.

It was made clear to the person not to set any more fires, he said. If more are set, the alleged firestarter could face criminal charges.


The state is in a precarious position for wildfires until more rain falls, Nelson said. Maine has had about 300 fires statewide, which is about half of the annual average, and it is only May.

“We will continue to patrol the area to check for illegal fires,” Nelson said.

The fire drew 45 firefighters from several departments. Tim “T.D.” Hardy, Farmington Fire Rescue chief, spotted smoke rising from the woods while he was at Aubuchon Hardware store on Wilton Road.

Firefighters had to make their own trail to get to the fire because there was no way in. They couldn’t get trucks to the scene and used utility terrain vehicles, hand tools and backpacks with water and pumps to put the fire out. Farmington and Kingfield Fire Rescue utility task vehicles, known as UTVs, are equipped with tanks and pumps.

As of Thursday, there had been at least six woods or brush fires this week in Franklin County.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: