MOSCOW — Firefighters were continuing to check Wednesday for hot spots and flare-ups following a weekend brush fire that covered more than 13 acres and proved difficult to suppress as they contended with temperatures in the 80s, a fire official said.

Efforts to suppress the fire Sunday afternoon, along Route 201 near the border between Caratunk and Moscow, were further hampered when an emergency call came in for a separate fire at a house a few miles away, according to Bingham fire Chief Scott Laweryson.

The chief said he had to divert nine firefighters and two fire trucks to that fire, which was a grass fire at the house on Route 201 in Caratunk. That fire was brought under control quickly, but it slowed firefighting efforts at the brush fire, he said Wednesday.

“It’s not a good feeling when you’re fighting one fire and you get toned for another,” he said.

The investigation into the brush fire is continuing, but a possible cause is a tree that toppled or somehow came in contact with power lines, Laweryson said.

“Along a road like that it can be hard to pinpoint what started it,” said Laweryson, who has led firefighting operations in Bingham for 16 years.


About 20 firefighters responded to the scene, including some from Anson, Jackman, Pleasant Ridge Plantation, Solon and West Forks. The Maine Forest Service provided a helicopter that used a Bambi Bucket to draw water from nearby Wyman Lake. The bucket holds 200 to 250 gallons of water and the helicopter made at least a dozen trips to gather water from the lake and dump it onto the brush fire, Laweryson said.

Firefighters struggled to contain the blaze because the flames moved quickly by consuming a layer of duff, which includes dead grass, leaves and other material that fueled the fire, he said.

Flames began moving from the brush into adjacent woods, and Laweryson said a primary focus was to prevent flames from getting deep into the woods because of a nearby series of camps along Cates Hill Road.

No one was hurt in the fire, but one Bingham firefighter was shaken up when the forestry truck he was operating rolled over and came to rest on its top. Laweryson declined to explain how the mishap occurred, saying an insurance review into the matter is ongoing.

The brush fire was reported at about 12:30 p.m. Sunday, and firefighters were at the scene until at least 8 p.m.

“It was a taxing job for these guys,” Laweryson said, “but they really did a great job.”

Laweryson expressed appreciation for the Bingham General Store, which delivered cases of drinking water for tired firefighters, and for the North Country General Store, also in Bingham, which closed early so staff members could cook pizzas to deliver to the firefighters.

A few residents also stopped at the scene to provide water.

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