With warmer weather, the Maine Forest Service urges safety first against wildfires

Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 6:18 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - As temperatures rise this spring, so do the chances of a wildfire starting.

The Maine Forest Service is keeping a close eye on conditions.

According to the Wildfire Danger Report, one-third of the state is already at level three for wildfire risk.

Maine Forest Service Forest Ranger Specialist, Kent Nelson said, “We have high fire danger generally earlier in the south than we do in the central part of Maine or northern Maine, and that’s because the snowmelt has melted faster because of the warm temperatures and the lack of rain and the wind.”

Even though many folks are looking forward to campfires, bonfires, and other ways to fuel outdoor fun, Forest Rangers remind everyone to be careful during this critical time.

Nelson added, “Many people don’t realize that the spring between March and April is when we are busiest with wildfires. We did some research on some of our data, and it looks like 60% of the wildfires occurred around the second and third week of April, which is where we’re at now, so many people don’t realize that that’s a volatile time for fires. They escape very easily because of the low relative humidity and the dry fuel conditions and the warmer temperatures and, of course, the wind.”

That goes for yard care, too.

For those looking to clean-up brush and yard debris by burning it, think twice before lighting up.

Because like Smokey Bear says, “Only you can prevent forest fires.”

“Yeah, this is a time of year that people want to clear that brush off their lawn. You know, maybe the tree limbs have fallen over the winter, and we understand that, but if you have it in your mind that, Oh, Saturday morning or whatever I’m going to burn, you can’t just be that way. You need to make sure that it’s safe and legal to burn, and the best way to do that is to go to our website. And if it’s a high fire danger day, you won’t be able to get a permit, and you just have to be patient and wait until we get some steady rain and try to do your burn after that,” said Nelson.