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28 The first fire started late in the evening after two retirees turned in for the night. Within a few minutes of turning off the generator and settling in one of the men noticed an orange flicker from the camps porch. He got up to see what it was and found the porch on fire. He and his friend had to use the only exit the camp had through the door and across the porch. The friend has minor mobility issues and doesnt move as fast as he used to. Unable to hurdle over flames he singed his legs in making a slower-than-hed-like-to escape. By the time help arrived the camp was a complete loss. A second camp roughly 20 feet away was very close to ignition. Full plastic five gallon gas cans on the second camps porch had melted spouts and bubbled plastic. The porch uprights were blackened an outside thermometer melted and a Styrofoam cooler was a puddle. Due to the complete incineration of the first camp the fire cause was never fully determined. The second camp fire occurred at the start of bird season. A husband and wife spent the night at camp with a wood fire in their stove. In the morning they stoked the stove and started out the door. The husband noticed some sparks seemingly drifting down from the ceiling. Looking up he saw that the metal chimney had overheated and the plywood ceiling was smoldering. They got their cats which always come to camp with them to safety and grabbed a 20 year old fire extinguisher out of their vehicle. With a lot of doubt that it would work they tried the extinguisher. Much to their surprise it did work. They extinguished the wood fire in the stove as well as around the chimney. When fire personnel arrived from Ashland they found embers and more smoldering material in the insulation between the plywood layers and metal roofing. The responsibility of protecting Maines vast forest is the sole responsibility of the Maine Forest Service. Often times the Maine Forest Service responds to camp and vehicle fires in the unorganized territory as other fire protection is Upta Camp not available. Minimizing and responding to the fire threat and promoting public safety are our main priorities. In light of this past years fires the Maine Forest Service wants to take a moment to remind camp owners of a few things they can do to reduce the event of a catastrophic fire. Perhaps the single most important thing that you can do is to seriously think about what would happen if your camp caught fire. Think of your safety first. How are you going to get out of your camp in the middle of the night Do you have a working smoke detector Do you have two realistic ways out Do you have a working fully charged fire ex- tinguisher Walk around your camp. Picture it burning. Is there a way that the fire can spread from the camp to the woods or other buildings Are there over- hanging limbs or flammable vegetation within 20 feet Is there an accumu- lation of flammable ground fuels such as leaves or needles Where do you store gas and propane Is your generator in a separate building Do you have a deck or porch Is there a crawlspace under the camp Nowmakesomechanges. Gobuyasmokedetectortheyreinexpensive Go buy a fire extinguisher. Prepare yourself to be able to put out a small fire. Create a defensible space around your camp. In the first camp fire last year the reason that the second camp didnt burn was because it was on a well maintained gravel pad. The responding Forest Ranger crawled under the second camp looking for embers and didnt find any. In his opinion had there been forest floor vegetation and debris around the second camp it would have burnt as well. Defensible space is a 20 to 30 foot ring a small firebreak essentially around a structure where flammable material is reduced or removed with the goal By Amanda Barker Forest Ranger Maine Forest Service The 2015 wildland fire season was marred by two fires at seasonal camps within about 12 miles of each other as the crow flies in the North Maine Woods. One camp was a complete loss the second was what we would call a near miss. Fire Prevention