A Wildfire with Human Element; Accidental or Intentional?
After it was all said and done the fire scorched a little over eleven acres.
The good news is the wildfire in Newburgh last week never threatened lives or structures.
The bad news?
Jeff Currier with the Maine Forest Service says there was a human element involved in the wildfire and they now have to determine whether the ignition source was accidental or intentional, and that's not always easy.
As Maine fire investigators work to pinpoint the source of ignition for the Newburgh fire, their firefighting brethren in Colorado say they too know the devastating fire in Waldo Canyon, which killed two people and destroyed 347 homes in June of 2012, had a human element, but a year later, the investigation has stalled.
Since man discovered fire it has been a multipurpose tool of survival.
Ironically, fire is also unpredictable and costly, both in terms of human life and economic ruin.
The tragic loss of 19 firefighters in Arizona, the deaths of two people in a wildfire in Colorado, and hundreds of homes being devastated should clearly illustrate the danger for people.
Colorado resident, journalist, and author, William Scott was evacuated from his home this summer and he vividly remembers the Waldo Canyon fire last summer too.
"We found ourselves again, in a situation where we just couldn't get aerial firefighting resources in a timely manner. And when things went really bad, the fire raced down hill and violated all the rules of fire supposedly, driven by 55-65 mile-per-hour winds, and suddenly we were in an emergency evacuation situation and ultimately 346 homes were lost," stated Scott
Former editor for Aviation Week, and former official with the National Security Agency, Scott testified last year before the Economic Warfare Institute, while the Waldo Canyon fire was still smoldering.
You'll take note in this presentation Scott makes reference to Inspire magazine. The same radical Islamist magazine said to have played a role in the Tsarnaev brothers bombing of the Boston Marathon.
As Scott mentions, it's interesting to note that the 9-11 terror attacks were executed by 19 men, armed with nothing more sophisticated than box cutters and a suicidal attitude, pressure cookers were used to kill and maim in Boston, and fire starting would be as easy as torching off a road flare in tinder-dry, windy conditions.
While Maine Forest Ranger Jeff Currier by no means suggests that terrorists had any involvement in the Newburgh fire, he says the Maine Forest Service is dialed in to the threat.
"We see various intelligence reports that come from all over the country, both from the Department of Homeland Security, and through the U.S. Forest Service, so we would never turn a blind eye to that. We are vigilant. We will investigate the cause of every fire and we will go after people who intentionally set fires," stated Currier.
Currier goes on to say, "to my knowledge we haven't had any fires in Maine started by anyone involved in terrorism, either foreign or domestic, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen."
Currier says Maine is one of the most forested states in the nation and home and land owners can do a great deal to create a protective barrier around their homes and properties which would go a long way in mitigating any potential damage if a wildfire broke out.
For more information visit the Maine Forest Service website at Maine.gov.