Kennebunk Fire

Wildfires that started in two separate communities burned more than 100 acres in just one day and rangers are warning Mainers to use caution.

The day started with an approximately 52-acre brush fire in Atkinson. Forest Rangers were joined by some local firefighters in extinguishing that blaze. Then they were called to Kennebunk, for a wildfire that is still not out. As of 8:00 this morning, the Forest Service said the fire has burned about 75 acres in Kennebunk, Sanford, and Wells and is about 50% contained. The wind yesterday made fighting and containing the fire challenging and the possibility of thundershowers today will only add another issue. Officials say the exact cause of both fires is under investigation.

The Forest Service issued a reminder this week about the danger of throwing lit cigarettes out of the windows of vehicles. It's a common practice but a dangerous one, especially in the current conditions. The ground is covered with extremely dry leaves and twigs that act as tinder for wildfires. Rangers recommend extinguishing the cigarette inside the vehicle, rather than tossing it out the window.

In addition, Mainers are reminded that a burn permit is required before doing any outdoor burning. So, before you light that pile of yard debris, be sure to purchase a permit. You can do that online or through your local fire department. If conditions are at a dangerous level, you will be required to wait until they improve.

And, if your fire starts to get out of control, Forest Rangers ask that you call the fire department immediately, even if you think you can handle it on your own. Your local firefighters won't be upset if you call them out and then are able to put the fire out on your own. But delaying making that call could cause a lot of damage that could have been avoided if they'd been on the scene earlier.