The Maine Warden Service says the recent rains have elevated the level of the Saco River, and that in some places felled trees and debris have created dams that are hazardous for paddlers. Courtesy Maine Warden Service

The Maine Warden Service is asking canoeists and kayakers to exercise caution when paddling on the Saco River in Fryeburg and Brownfield.

Storms that dropped several inches of rain in Oxford County and other regions of the state have caused river levels to rise, currents to flow faster, and caused trees to fall into the river.

In mid- to late July, several canoes flipped over or got stuck in debris in the Saco River, necessitating rescues by emergency responders. The warden service said that debris obstructions in the Saco River resulted in the rescue of 17 paddlers. Those rescues dated to July 17.

Fryeburg Fire Department Captain Scott Gregory said Wednesday that the Saco River had not reached flood stage and that there had been no calls for rescues.

“Everything has been good and quiet today,” Gregory said.

National Weather Service meteorologist Don Dumont said Wednesday that while heavy rain has elevated river levels across Maine, the Saco River was still 4 feet below flood stage. The NWS has a river gauge based in Conway, New Hampshire. The Sandy River, Carrabassett River and the Kennebec River were all reporting elevated water levels, some at or above flood stage on Wednesday, Dumont said.

The weather service reported that Auburn got 6.57 inches from rain from Tuesday’s storm, Cumberland Center 5.07 inches, Kingfield 4.24 inches and Bethel 3.23 inches of rain.

The Maine Warden Service encourages all paddlers to wear lifejackets when in a canoe, kayak or paddleboard and to never paddle alone.

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